Following Julian’s very interesting Rooster Booster blog I visited the starlings site again last Friday, this time with my wife Sylvia. We observed the wood from the North West side and the numbers of birds coming in was truly staggering. Over a 15 minute period, wave after wave of birds appeared and soon dived down into the conifers. There was even a buzzard in the middle of the flocks at times.
6.35 a.m. the next day found me back there with a better viewing spot, to study the birds’ exit from the roost. It was a beautiful sunrise, with a tawny owl hooting in the background for good measure and other birds singing too. Over an 8 minute spell from 7.00 a.m. the starlings left in 4 separate sessions. Using a formula developed by A E J Symonds and found on the internet by Hilary Marshal, I computed the roost figure at 1.16 million birds! Bear in mind in 2017 the roost had been estimated at 1 million birds – noted in the 2018 Devon Birds Report.
The photos give you some idea of the scene and no. 1 shows sheep too, which were spooked by the flock shown in that picture because the birds were flying so low.
Barrie Lewis – February 25th 2019