28
Feb-2014

Meare Starling Murmuration

A moving drama, the sight and sound of a million-strong starling murmuration above your heads is one of UK’s most incredible wild spectaculars. The sudden darkened skies, continually morphing shapes and sheer mass create a visual extravaganza. But the soundscape is beautiful too –  a million soft and soothing wingbeats overhead, the waterfall whoosh as they descend into the reed beds, then the crash of waves and occasional boom as the unsettled avian throng erupt and fall as they relocate in the reeds.

Murmuring above Meare village in Somerset, children from the local school were keen to discover, experience & record for themselves their very own winter wild wonder.

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One of the best aspects of watching wildlife on your home patch is benefitting from the wealth of knowledge from local people. So when one of the school staff told us that the starlings were pre-roosting at the bottom of her garden for the past week, we knew this was the place to wait.

Murm6The clear late afternoon skies were a gorgeous backdrop, but ensured it was also a cold evening and that the starlings would arrive later that expected … but the children’s patience paid off and they came!

Murm9Settling in the upper branches of their pre-roost – the trees were soon laden with the million massing birds.

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Erupting from their temporary resting places, the starling cloud flew right over our heads – we were all struck with awe, wonder & bird droppings!

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In one evolving mass, the starling murmuration swarmed to the reedbeds of the adjoining RSPB Ham Wall reserve, where they will roost for the night. This incredible wild wonder will carry on for perhaps another week, but as spring takes a tighter hold, the starlings will disperse, migrating back to their breeding grounds in Europe.

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Murm1Photographing, filming and recording the murmuration, the children also took a time to simply absorb the splendour and sounds of their local spectacular. It was an evening that all will remember. A huge thank you to the children and staff of Meare Primary School for making this such a wonderful wild experience.

Throughout 2014 I will be working with schools across the UK to experience and photograph their local wildlife spectacular – creating a portrait of some of the UK’s most impressive Wild Wonders, through the eyes and ears of the children that live nearby.

All photos by children of Meare Primary School

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