Friday, 24 January 2014

A starling murmuration

Eilish Rothney, Trinity Broads Warden

A swirling shoal, silhouetted against a crimson sky. A swarm, filling the sky as they came closer, their chattering as gentle as rain and then silence as they moved off down the broad only to return moments later. Who knows the unheard signals that bond these small birds to turn at once spiralling up then dropping, changing direction in an instant. 

I watched the starling murmuration over Rollesby Broad for over half an hour, captivated by their dance, entranced by the motion. Other smaller flocks arrived to be joyfully assimilated into the whole. I tried counting – there must have been close to 700, small by winter roost standards but with numbers of starlings declining these sights are getting more and more precious.

Rollesby Broad is part of the Trinity Broads, one of the newest reserves managed by Norfolk Wildlife Trust, a partnership with Essex and Suffolk Water. To view Rollesby Broad there is a car park on the Ormesby St Michael side of the Bridge on A149 (Nearest post code: NR29 5EF).

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