It was 3.15pm, we had been walking around Otmoor for the past two hours. The weather was cold and windy, the ground a mixture of ice and squelching mud. Even with 3 pairs of socks on each step I took was beginning to hurt as my feet were numb with cold.
We had spent the past 10 minutes in the Wetland watch hide trying to warm up and decide whether we were going to stay to watch the starlings or start the walk back to the car park.
In the end we decided to head back out to the Starling viewing point. We joined tens of people heading the same way. Couples, birdwatchers, photographers, families with small children, all hoping to see the amazing aerial display put on by the Starlings.
Along the path, small bird shaped signs pointed out facts about the starlings or many of the other birds, such as Marsh harriers or Gold crests that can be seen on the reserve.
As we walked, small clusters of starlings flew overhead, the sun began to set and the clouds cleared.
Groups of Starlings started to join together, some coming in small batches, while others poured in long dark tornado looking masses. They moved from left to right in undulating waves. With each passing wave the cloud of Starlings grew bigger and darker.
Then the shapes started to appear.
This one was my favourite – it looks like Mary Poppins with her umbrella.
The photo below is just a small section of the starling murmuration. I’ve put a grid over the photo to enable me to count how many starlings there were.
The middle square has roughly 50 starlings in it.
There are 70 squares which makes roughly 3500 starlings in this photo – and that was just a small section of the whole murmuration!