Saturday, 12 November 2011

Apologies, thanks and ringing 12/11/2011

Hello all,

Sorry it has been a long time since I have posted anything to this blog but truth be told I haven't had much time or motivation to get out and about over the last few months.

Autumn is a busy time for a Meteorologist as we gear up towards the winter season and I find myself becoming slightly more lethargic as the nights start to draw in.

Almost all of the Tuesday volunteer days at Highgate seem to have clashed with work or other commitments and so I have only managed half a day in what seems like 3 months or more!

I managed to help with putting in some of the new Car Park signs for Highgate Common. Now we should have no excuses in forgetting the names for each car park.

I would like to thank the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust for writing such a wonderful article on me in their Wildlife Champion section of the Autumn/Winter 2011 Staffordshire Wildlife magazine. They have been very supportive of my activities on their Highgate reserve and I simply can't praise them enough for their encouragement and the work that they do.

I have been continuing with my ringing activities, although these have been few and far between as they wound down after a productive autumn migration and winter flocks are only just starting to gather in any significant numbers.

I was fortunate enough last Thursday to be invited over to Aqualate Mere by the Brewood Ringing Group to try and ring part of the Starling roost.

Aqualate Mere is a National Nature Reserve which is managed by Natural England but is part of a private estate. As such access to the reserve is strictly limited to public rights of way and permit holders. It does have a bird hide that overlooks the reserve and more information about this and the rest of the reserve can be found here.

The Starling roost is building quite nicely now and there must be tens of thousands of birds gathering to roost each evening.

We did not manage to catch any of the Starlings as they were roosting in another part of the reed beds but I did get to see them dance and swirl across the Mere as they gathered to roost.

It certainly was a magical sight to see and hear the cloud of birds twist and turn. The sound of them all beating their wings to change direction had to be heard to be believed.

A  Peregrine was trying to disrupt the flock but it didn't seem to have much success.

Scott Petrek (warden at Doxey Marshes) managed to get a photo of part of the flock and was kind enough to allow me to post it here.

Photo courtesy of Scott Petrek 

I know that more updates won't be forthcoming for the rest of the month as I will be extremely busy but I do hope to do at least one update in December.

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