The flocks of starlings that have been roosting here at Fen Drayton Lakes have now moved on, leaving just a relatively small flock of local, hardy residents.
Although these birds try, there just aren't enough of them to give the fantastic displays we were seeing when there were over 1000 starlings each evening. Where have the others gone? We don't know exactly, but they will have continued their migration southwards. Perhaps they've reached RSPB Ham Wall, where numbers have been increasing in the past week.
Roll on next autumn!
There has been some consolation for people who've visited in recent evenings, with up to four bitterns being seen at Holywell Lake reedbeds, and a couple of short-eared owls have been seen flying over farmland alongside the entrance road.
For most of Sunday, we weren't sure if we'd see any starlings, because of fog. In fact, it was so dense that for much of the day we couldn't even see the nearest edge of Holywell Lake. As the starlings usually roost on the far side, prospects didn't look promising, but right at the end of the afternoon, visibility improved just enough to see the entire reedbed.
Sadly, a similar number of starlings came to roost as on the previous night, about 500.
Those who were walking the trails earlier in the day found siskins, goldcrests, fieldfares and redwings, and at least one female (or immature) smew.
We've come to expect the roosting starlings to frequently do something different here at Fen Drayton Lakes. Saturday night was no exception.
Perhaps "our" starlings had seen Autumn Watch on TV on Friday - did you see the fantastic starling display in Ireland? Whatever the reason, Saturday's display was downright disappointing, with only about 400 birds in the display. At least they made the effort, for the many people who came to watch.
Two or three woodcocks were seen after the last of the starlings had settled into the reedbed roost, but the best display was provided by the rooks and jackdaws. It was too dark to try to count them, but hundreds put on a noisy display at last light, impressing the visitors who stayed that long.