Misty Cottage is an amazing place to live, we are so fortunate to have been able to make this our home for the last twenty years or so.
Apart from the stunning scenery, one of the most spectacular sights here is the starling murmuration. Starlings over winter here, they feed on worms and other creatures that live just under the surface of the soil so when it threatens to get seriously cold in their summer countries in Scandinavia or Russia they fly over to us. We notice them arriving at around the time of the autumnal equinox and they stay until the spring equinox. There are a few who live here year round but the vast majority are winter visitors. About 500 yards down the lane from Misty Cottage is a stretch of Forestry Commission conifer plantation which provides an excellent roost for them. In fact within half a mile of here there are several such plantations and the starlings alternate between them.
|Hard to see but the black patch in the field is a patch of birds.|
Today, as it began to turn to dusk, the starlings gathered all around Misty Cottage. Every tree was laden with chattering birds, there were large black patches of them in the fields and the noise was incredible. They chatter away to each other noisily and then all of a sudden a hush falls and the next moment the air is filled with the sound of tens of thousands of wings beating as they all take off together. As they fly overhead the sky is thick with them and they move like smoke over to the trees. At this point it is advisable to have your hood up! If you are really lucky they decide that they are not too keen on where they have settled and they will all rise up out of the trees and make beautiful shapes together in the air before settling down again into different trees. My photos can't do this spectacle justice by any means but the pictures may give you an idea.
|Here are some from the neighbouring field just taking off.|
There are various videos on YouTube showing the murmuration here is a link to one filmed by someone with a better camera than mine!