I took a day off on Friday to head to the Coast for a family event, and took a chance of visiting Eastbourne Pier about half an hour before sunset to see if the Starlings were back in town for winter! There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the pier was lit in the most beautiful golden light.
As the sun got lower and lower, I thought I was going to be disappointed. I hadn’t seen any flock of birds. Then – as sunset got closer, I noticed a few birds beginning to fly around … probably only about 50 birds. Then I realised there was a second much larger flock approaching the first, this one in the thousands. They joined forces, and performed their amazing dance – so many birds altogether.
They flew around, sometimes splitting up, sometimes flying all in one flock. Then there appeared to be some hidden signal and suddenly they all started to fly towards the pier. They literally bombarded the dome at the top of the pier – getting the last of the sunshine.
They would settle for a while, then a bunch of them would fly up into the air before returning to catch more of the warmth from the last rays of sunshine
Then there was the normal squabbling as expected from starlings as they found their perches, fighting for the warmest and least windy spots!
The noise was simply amazing – as I walked along the pier, I could hear all the starlings that had already headed under the pier to roost for the night. I took a couple of movie clips which can be watched here http://www.flickr.com/photos/clare_forster/5210310092/
If you haven’t seen the murmurations of starling before, I can whole heartedly recommend it. It’s one of the most amazing sights you will see – and the noise once they have gone to roost is incredible! I had hoped to return on Sunday evening – but the weather wasn’t helping me, and I decided to stay home and keep warm!