web software problems and murmurations!

If you have been trying to download my latest newsletter on my website, I’m currently having problems with the web software and, for some reason, I can’t replace the January 11 edition. If you would like a copy of my current newsletter then please let me know and I’ll send one to you.

At my last indoor class, my regular group of birdwatchers learned about starlings and murmurations! We followed that up this Saturday by visiting Nosterfield and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve at Staveley in the hope that we might see a starling murmuration for ourselves. It had been a wet few days and, despite a dry forecast, Saturday was also wet. All we needed was a dry, still evening and we were in with a good chance.

After a great day out (seeing wildfowl, waders, peregrine, sparrowhawk, kestrel, winter thrushes and water rail), we positioned ourselves and gazed upwards at the sky over Staveley with fingers crossed. Small groups of starlings gathered and merged, circling the reserve while increasing their numbers. It looked promising. Eventually, around 2,000 birds had gathered. They flew this way and that in the setting sun then, against an unusual phenomenon of reflected light in the sky, we were treated to our first dancing movements of a flock in true synchronicity. For about 20 minutes, we watched the starling flock as it swirled, twisted and contorted into unimaginable shapes then, as if there was an inaudible signal, the birds funnelled down abruptly into the reedbed. All was still again and we left feeling happy and privileged to have witnessed something wonderful.

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