The starlings are no longer roosting in Ham Wall instead they have moved to the far end of Shapwick Heath, not far from the Avalon Marshes centre.
This late in the season I can just about get to Shapwick to watch the starlings arrive after work. When they did arrive they hung around the trees to the north of the main drove not far from the centre.
It was a dull overcast day but the clouds briefly parted and the low sun illuminated the trees in orange light before the birds dropped to the ground in the distance.
The lack of reeds in that field meant the birds were not going to roost there. Instead, at some point they would need to lift and move into the reserve. My guess was that they would roost next to the track that leads to the Decoy Hide as this has been popular site in the past.
I walked to the start of the track and waited. I could hear the roar of wings in the distance but could not yet see the flock. Just a few seconds later the sky was full of birds heading for the heath.
I ran down the track to see another even larger flock coming into the reserve from Shapwick Moor (not to be confused with Shapwick Heath). A wall of birds coming from the south.
The flocks merged and dropped in great curving waves smashing into the reeds.
The birds often arrive in huge flocks. The flocks are created when the starlings gather in fields close the roost site building in numbers during the evening until it is time to roost.
Today some birds used the fields to the north near the Avalon Marshes Centre. The biggest group of the birds gathered in Shapwick Moor just south of Shapwick Heath. This reserve is run by the Hawk and Owl Trust and with the surrounding the fields it is a gathering site for starlings. In these fields they have a last feed before roosting.
The flat fields come alive as thousands of starlings roll across the grass in black plumes.
After feeding the birds, on some silent que, lift into the sky to make the short hop over the trees into the reeds of Shapwick Heath. I have watched this happen many times as its a great place to watch the starlings without the crowds on weekends. As the birds raise above the trees you can hear the cheers of the visitors who waited in the cold for the flock to arrive.
The starlings take to the air and mix with the flocks of lapwings.
They make the short flight from the moor into the heath.