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The Traveller's Magazine
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Whether your an ornithologist, a recreational birdwatcher or a nature-lover, autumn in Britain is the best time to catch this natural phenomenon in action. The starlings are the key attraction once summer fads to autumn.


noun poetic/literary

  1. the action of murmuring
  2. a flock of starlings

A murmur, it’s a low, almost inaudible, yet continuous sound in the distance. It’s the sound of starlings as they sweep and flow through the sky in one of nature’s most incredible dances. A murmuration is a chance experience that one has to be on guard to witness, to catch at the right moment.

These girls did just that.

Starlings aren’t exactly the prize bird for serious or amateur birdwatchers since they’re so common. But in the fall, they’re the main attraction for naturists in Sommerset when millions (literally) of starlings flock together in clouds. Some say it’s to ward of predators, others that it’s just the magic of nature proving itself.

It’s hard to say when and where something like this will happen although Somerset is known for attracting the largest murmurations of starlings in all of England. The countryside’s large marsh areas are the perfect places for starlings to feed.

Best spots in Britain to catch a murmuration

  • Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve – Somerset
  • RSPB Ham Wall – Somerset
  • Westhay Moor – Somerset
  • Snape – Suffolk
  • Leighton Moss – Lancashire
  • Drayton Lakes – Cambridgeshire
  • Aberystwyth pier – Wales

The best time to spot a murmuration is right before dusk. It typically lasts for 25 minutes before the starlings head to the trees to roost for the night.

Have you ever seen a murmuration of starlings before? Where was it?

Img: humbert 15 / Flickr cc.

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