Friday, 4 January 2013

New Year starling roost, gulls and a goldeneye at
Standlake Common Nature Reserve  3rd Jan 2013

Hundreds of ducks were on the lake today with some of my favourites, the  goosanders being very lively and chasing each other around. In the midst of all the teal, wigeon, mallards and coots I spotted just one beautiful male goldeneye which is a first sighting for me.
Just before four o’clock the sight I was hoping to see appeared before my eyes. At first just a faint smudge in the distance, then building and building to a flock of several thousand starlings wheeling and swirling in the darkening sky for 20 minutes.
At one point a flock of gulls flew in across the lake to take part in the swirling flock contest and I didn’t know which way to look there was so much going on. But they gave up fairly quickly and flew off elsewhere.
Then all of a sudden the starlings decided to roost and poured out of the sky down behind the hedge just to the north of the reserve. I couldn’t tell exactly where they ended up for the night but they were probably somewhere around the neighbouring lake.
The water is still really high on the reserve and the north shore hide is not accessible without wellies, I just had an inch to spare before I got wet feet and you can see from the heron how high the water level is along the path. The Langley Lane hide is still completely inaccessible with the water above floor level again.

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