We were slightly too late on our first visit to Shibdon and although saw the Starlings leave the pond weren't in the position i had hoped for. We did get there early enough last week and it was a fabulous experience that was over all too fast. It did last for 10 / 15 minutes from the Starlings first movements around the reeds to them leaving. I had been told by local "expert" George Simpson (if you search his name of You Tube you will see his morning & evening videos of the past weeks, great footage of the murmurations on numerous occasions) that up to 4 Sparrowhawks could lie in wait and the Starlings know this and moved about the reed beds constantly before departing. I'm not talking hundreds here but thousands of birds moving about the reeds is quite a sight in itself. Two large groups numbering thousands left intially within 30 seconds of each other with 2 Sparrowhawks in the air with them. George, who we spoke to just after, had a Sparrowhawk landing on the boardwalk close by with a squealing Starling in its grip before despatching it then flying off. Other groups of 20, 30 40 ish left over the next ten minutes. We stood wondering which was the best strategy.
Only the one Dipper on the Derwent this week but last Saturday we had four, two of which displayed and called, with a third in close attendance. A fallen tree where the Dippers were is slightly further upstream and away from the noise of the faster water so the sounds they made were the best i had ever heard. Unfortunately the branches of the tree stopped us getting any images of the event. I did however get a pleasing shot of a male Kestrel that landed on the island and ratched around in the undergrowth looking for a bite to eat.
|Looking for his bait.|