Sunday, 18 January 2015

ANOTHER STARLING MURMARATION

Many of blog readers will know of my fondness for what I've nicknamed "THE REED BED". It has a official name called "Quarry Walk", something about quarries and me! Situated between the working quarry at Earls Barton and Pastures Farm the land was transformed under the maligned Natural England system, but when done properly it's hard to see why Natural England comes under attack by many conservationist.
After all how many sites during the spring/Summer can boast Cettis Warbler, Water Rail, Otter, Cuckoo, Hobbies, Reed Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat and this summer being an exception the Sedge Warbler, numbers were drastically down with just the one male bird!! Which sadly tallies with the BTO figures for the species this year ie very bad. As for winter birds there is a star species that's so far gone unreported and as it doesn't show brilliantly I'll say nothing for now.
Now as John Finalyson was blogging about the starling murmaration at Titchmarsh and how it appeared numbers were dropping I started to get phone calls from a couple of dog walkers and one quarry worker about the Starlings inincreasing in numbers. So went to investigate (pre-accident). The first visit I stood on the boardwalk (pictured above) and could hear them chattering some distance into the reed bed then silence as they all took off and dispersed onto the surrounding farm land. In the evening they threw a curve ball and settled in the reed bed on Grendon Lakes, more to follow on this site. But definitely good numbers. On my second visit they settled on the lake known as Mill Lake. This site can accessed from the carpark next to quarry and following the path alongside the River Nene and over the stile. The third visit without my camera due to my accident was better and thanks to my chauffeur (girlfriend) produced the best displays they settled in the reed bed on the Quarry Walk part of the site.
Numbers were quite impressive and had me wishing for my camera.
If you plan a visit,  park in the carpark nearest to the quarry, definately don't park at the quarry entrance, security need access even at weekends, in no uncertain terms you will return to your car with flat tyres, you've been warned! Don't take a short cut across the quarry if security is present be prepared to be chased by a large dog they've had too many issues from diesel theft, plant machinery damaged/stolen. Walk past Dunkelys restaurant (old train carriages) opposite the only other property is a public footpath that takes you alongside the very muddy farmers field until you get to the boardwalk you can't miss it.  There's a circular footpath that takes in a variety of habitat you might even spot an unreported bird too.
But what ever you do, don't stray off the footpaths onto Grendon Lakes, birders with the exception of one or two individuals are not welcomed and well let's say it will not end in a happy outcome. There is footpaths around the site but you won't see the starlings so it's not really worth it.

12 comments:

  1. It's always a treat to find a karge Starling roost. You'll have to get a lens support built into your cast and show some photos.

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    1. Now there's an idea Adrian, don't think my physio therapist would agree though :-) thanks.

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    2. the Starling in Belfast gather in their thousands and last year I videoed from the first that arrive to the final one arrives. it was a wonderful experience. Then I videoed them, filing off to go under the bridge to root. Both videos are on my blog should you ever wish to view them.

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    3. Cheers Margaret I'll come and have a look, thank you

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  2. Good news for you Douglas, well done, my loss is your gain ! ......

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    1. Personally I am not convinced these are the ones from Titchmarsh, I see a reserve in near by Cambridgeshire got an influx, probably your starlings

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  3. Unfortunately, we don't haven't got got any Starlings as well.

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    1. It's normally the same here Bob, this winter it seems they're spoiling us

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  4. Good to see your still getting out despite the handicap Doug. You now have us all in suspense regarding the "mystery bird", are we to have a guess at it's identity or are you waiting to obtain an image before all is revealed?

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    1. Waiting for an image Paul lol. You know me to well

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  5. Great to see you're getting about a bit, Doug, even if you're not managing any photography. I hope you recover quickly enough to get some murmuration images whilst they're still performing. I've not seen a murmuration yet this winter. Wishing you all the best - - - Richard

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  6. Thank you Richard, I hope I can manage a few images soon.

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