Monday, 7 December 2015

Slebech Reedbed - starling roost etc

Having driven back from the West Midlands and feeling the need for some fresh air and exercise, we decided to check out the Slebech reedbed starling roost again before it got dark and started to rain. 

There were few if any murmurations this evening. Instead most arriving flocks went straight into the reeds, gradually spreading out across the reedbed over a period of about an hour. It was quite impossible to say how many starlings were present but by the time we left at 16:30 hours they probably covered up to c. 1/3 of the c. 8 ha reedbed. There were more roosting here than about a month ago, and certainly many thousands of birds were involved. 
How many in this flock?

Or in this one?

Black blur - just a small part of a very large flock flying over the reeds

Part of the roost extent this evening
There were no obvious raptors around but, just like about a month ago, two firecrests roosted in the rhododendrons near the view-point, plus a small number of redwings and other thrushes. At least 4 little grebes were feeding along the Eastern Cleddau channel.  

On our way home, having flushed a woodcock from the roadside, a few minutes later we flushed a much smaller and more puzzling bird from the roadside edge near Minwear Church. What was particularly striking about this bird is that in the car headlights it appeared to have black and white striped and quite broad rounded wings. Now if it had been April/May or early autumn, we'd have been pretty convinced that it was a hoopoe, but in early December? What ever it was, we didn’t see it properly enough to confirm ID and so we'll probably never know what it actually was.