Sunsets and starlings

We headed to the RSPB’s Newport Wetlands reserve this week to catch the starling murmuration which was expected around dusk.

Arriving in plenty of time, we took a stroll around the reserve. Like WWT Steart Marshes, this site lives in the shadow of a power station, but there are also more pleasing views out across the Bristol Channel to Flat Holm and Steep Holm.

Newport Wetlands Reserve
View across the reserve
Flat Holm
Looking across the Channel to Flat Holm

As we patiently waited for the starlings to come in to roost, we were treated to a beautiful sunset which cast a gorgeous light over the reeds and walkways.

Sunset and swans
Swans silhouetted in the sunset

At around 4pm, the starlings started to arrive. A small number started flocking straight away, whilst others hung around on nearby pylons before joining the main group. After a spectacular performance that lasted about 20 minutes, the birds seemed to crash down out of the sky as they settled to roost in the trees.

Starling murmuration
The murmuration
Starlings gathering on a pylon
Starlings gather on a pylon

One of the reserve’s staff members estimated this murmuration contained around 20,000 birds, but this number is likely to swell as winter progresses. The RSPB website has lots more information about starlings and their flocking behaviour.