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Murmuration #1

By ketch
Murmuration of starlings - this was taken yesterday of one of the largest starling murmurations seen for many years - there were perhaps as many as 3 million birds in total (this is just a small section) taken at Ham Wall in Somerset one of about six venues around the country where this happens during the winter months.

All the starlings will come originaly from Russia (I was so tempted to title the image 'JO') and will winter in our slightly warmer climate.

Numbers of starlings have been on the decrease quite dramatically over the last few years so this mass gathering was really quite heartening to see.

They gather prior to roosting (just before sundown) as they look for a communal place to spend the night. The name murmeration comes from the whispering noise they make en mass with the sounds of their wings. I have to say with this number the sounds is a bit more than a murmer!!!

The amazing swirls and aeriel ballet often seen is usually stirred up when a hunter is around (sparrow-hawk and harriers mostly).

The reasons for these amazing displays are not readily understood even today and after considerable study. It is thought to be a safety mechanism reducing the odds of beiing singled out quite simply because there are so many birds.

When they do finally settle there is a very clear hierarchy of who goes where - adult males (t'was ever thus) are right in the middle where it is safe and warm - then adult females then young males and finally on the outside young females.

I think these three shots were taken on auto - certainly with a longer lens 70 x 300 mm and handheld.

Anyway thanks for looking hope it has been of interest. I have to say if you have the chance to check one of these gatherings out - they are pretty amazing and fill up the memory banks.


Tags: Sunset Flock Birds General Rspb Somerset levels Wildlife and nature Ham wall Murmuration Jo starling

Voters: shaver, Glostopcat, norton and 41 more

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shaver 10 8 England
31 Jan 2011 8:27PM
brilliant, breathtaking

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norton 14 6 United Kingdom
31 Jan 2011 8:28PM
Nice image and very informative description, well captured..............

Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
31 Jan 2011 8:28PM
What a spectacular sight this must have been to behold, well captured
moiral 8 12 Scotland
31 Jan 2011 9:00PM
3 fantastic captures. Certainly a spectacle to behold. Moira
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
31 Jan 2011 9:36PM
A force of nature, well conveyed.
helenlinda Plus
11 360 22 United Kingdom
31 Jan 2011 10:37PM
What an amazing sight - and I bet the sound was rather special too. Helen.
jeanmarie 9 12 England
1 Feb 2011 2:30AM
fantastic set V1 & V3 for meSmile
1 Feb 2011 3:17AM
Wonderful shot!! Very impressive, a superlatif result! All versions for me, impossible to choice...
Thanks so much for share it.

CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
1 Feb 2011 6:15AM
Three amazing images, what a fantastic sight to see and capture on camera. Carol
1 Feb 2011 9:55AM
Fantastic capture!
User_Removed 13 386 2 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2011 1:46PM
Wonderful captures.
Richsr 11 91 223 England
3 Feb 2011 4:09PM
Three fine captures of an impressive sight. A good sky to capture them against too.
Regards Richard
3 Feb 2011 6:37PM
Three great shots.Nice write up.Well done.
andylea 9 37 1 United Kingdom
3 Feb 2011 8:38PM
v1 for me a stunning capture Wink
JouŠo 14 56 Finland
4 Feb 2011 7:24PM
Spectacular capture! V1 for me too!

kinfatric 13 550 9 Scotland
13 Feb 2011 11:13AM
Great images of this event, a spectacle worth seeing too for oneself I imagine.
helenlinda Plus
11 360 22 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2011 11:25PM
I can at last give this my User Award - such a wonderful moment you have captured here Robert.Smile
ketch 10 770 50 Turks And Caicos Islands
14 Feb 2011 8:46AM
Wow Helen - Thank you so much for your user award - and I really do like the look of it (and your new avatar) well it is a boat so fantastic.

Thanks again really appreciated.


morpheus1955 11 3 2 United Kingdom
24 Feb 2011 9:42PM
Amazing set of images, very well captured and presented.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2024 United Kingdom
7 Mar 2011 3:18PM
Lovely images and interesting information to go with them. That must have been a wonderful sight, perhaps you got a video of it?
ketch 10 770 50 Turks And Caicos Islands
7 Mar 2011 3:43PM
I do have moving images too but only on the cinema screen in my head, I am afraid PJ. Thank you for your comments much appreciated.
ianrobinson Plus
8 1.2k 8 United Kingdom
11 May 2011 12:55AM
a superb capture, i tried this around our way in Strumpshaw Norfolk not easy really i know better now though so may try again this year.
NeilWigan Plus
7 17 16 England
21 May 2011 9:28PM
incredible sight ,must be awe-inspiring ,well recorded,
acousticmist 8 10 1 United Kingdom
26 May 2011 6:48PM
Superb shot, I have never seen so many birds in one place. Well spotted........Martin
photophantom 10 108 3 Philippines
4 Oct 2011 10:56AM
rontear Plus
15 8 8 England
30 Oct 2011 1:27PM
Fascinating nature Robert, one of the best locations in Britain for this event. Excellent.

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