Good early season starling roost at Meare Heath tonight - mainly in close reedbed between car park and first pool... c100,000 birds, up to 4 Marsh Harriers (2 males), buzzards and sparrowhawk all had a go at the birds...
We were there this morning. I estimated c100,000 also. Amazing in the morning. Worth the early start. It really is a great spot where they are roosting ATM.
That explains where they were flying to - about 10 sizeable flocks flew over Canada Hide in the gathering gloom heading that way, one big flock 5-6,000 did a short display, but kept heading East. I'd seen them gathering all afternoon around Shapwick, and many fieldfares too. (And now its snowing in Northumberland, it'll start to move birds south).
Hope you are well.
Starlings over Coleford migrating SW this morning.
Higher than the resident Starlings and a typically focused migration flight. Also a few Skylarks over.
At the back of the house a good selection of birds inc the usual Ravens, 1 Siskin, 4+ Bullfinches, 2 Jays, 1 Coal Tit and a noticeable increase in Wood Pigeons, a calling Tawny Owl.
A Wasp and a Red Admiral in the garden were a surprise.
Nice to hear from you John - that's a good list. Couple of red admirals at Cheddar today. I'm well thanks, spending most of my time these days near Marlborough Wilts so not much SOS birding, so good to have a weekend 'at home'
I now have Starlings back in the garden. I am assuming these are migratory birds. They are feasting on an overgrown grapevine that has spread into next doors tree and as such there is an abundance of fruit. What is more special though is hearing the males sing. At one point it sounded like a bird was mimicking a Fieldfare which got me thinking. How long does it take a Starling to copy another birds song and has anybody identified migratory birds with foreign birds in their song display. I understand that a lot of our Starlings have come from Russia so might some have Russian birds copied. I had a tame Starling for 17 years and am well aware at how many different sounds they can vocalise.
I recall a Starling in Wells one afternoon last Winter that was reminiscent in part of its song akin to that of a Golden Oriole. Great Spotted Woodpecker 'chips' seem to be a favourite of at least one of the Coleford birds.
Thousands of starlings at Catcott early afternoon, many feeding on flying insects in the very mild conditions. Lots more digging invertebrates out of the grassland.
Thank you John, i would have liked to have heard that one.
Large flocks of starlings heading over to Ham Wall across Street. Walking out of work I was treated to a flock being followed by a Peregrine falcon. It seemed to be surveying the scene rather than actively hunting. But very dramatic as it swooped through the gloom of the evening!
Mathew - regularly hear Starlings making the 'mewing' calls of Buzzards like most people in Somerset , but last year I think I posted on here that we had one in the garden for a few days that was making the 'bubbling trill' sound of a Curlew - so well that to start with I was searching the sky for them flying over !
Having the same problem in north Taunton with starlings copying Fieldfare.
Thank you Paul and John for letting me know what your Starlings are doing, i have also heard the mewing of Buzzards from a Starlings lexicon many times. I think i may have also heard one doing the first few notes of a Mistle thrush.