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June 1st, 2012


Out early with the starlings

Out early this morning twelve on the garden list for the day so far and sixteen walking upto the edge of the moor with an overlap of only four. Heavy mist meant I decided to turn back and as I returned it started to rain....but I was glad I did.

I had heard that the starlings were startling. I had heard from one family living alongside my walk route of their presence in large numbers on their "farm." In the garden at home we had had what I took to be two families of about a dozen birds in all,following the pattern seen last year......four adults and youngsters demanding to be fed but they had seen dozens and dozens of birds on the land around their farmhouse.

This morning there were groups of starlings from the word go, in the garden and on the walk route, on overhead lines on poles on walls and on the ground. On the return leg of the walk in one field I counted 100 birds(most of them) before they suddenly rose as a bird and disappeared leaving only a solitary jackdaw. It was apparent that this group included famillies as there clusters of youngsters pestering adult birds within it.
I had not realised that the massed roosts which I knew took place on the moor started as early in the year as this but obviously that is what is happening and the birds from the roost(s) are coming down into the village in groups of about a dozen birds which I rate as about two families and apparently in larger groups onto fields and farms.
Not sure then if my "two families" worth are a group from such a roost or two families that stay local and come into the garden daily or even if it is the same dozen birds each day.
Last year one of the birds had a white feather on one wing so I knew it was the same group . This year there is no apparent way of telling.
Other delights this morning: in the garden a blue tit (yesterday there was a fledged family of them) and a pair of coal tits, and on the walk a mistle thrush stretching its long elegant neck towards the sky and on a wire(unusually high) a male reed bunting on the edge of the moor.