Following a visit on a cold rainy day, Saskia, age 9, was so inspired after seeing the starling murmeration at Strumpshaw that she wrote this fantastic poem about it!
Thank you Saskia!
BLOGGER: Ian Robinson, Broads Area Manager
Happy Christmas one and all from the RSPB Broads Team.
If you haven’t heard and/or haven’t seen it our roost of starlings has now got up to c60,000. So if you’ve eaten too many mince pies and stuffed your face full of Christmas pud, turkey, roast spuds and all the rest and fancy a walk to burn it off, head to Strumpshaw for around 3pm on Boxing day and wait with the crowd outside reception watching the starlings swirl and dive and chatter as they plunge into the reedbed.
If you’re feeling even more energetic head to Buckenham before that to get amazing views of wigeon, teal and peregrine and up to 1000 whitefront geese.
Ian Robinson RSPB Broads Area Manager
It might be cold, dark, wet and windy, but that makes it the perfect time of year to treck out in search of big swirling flocks of birds. Buckenham Marshes (next door to Strumpshaw Fen) is flooded with big flocks at the moment. More than two thousand wigeon are grazing the marshes, filling the air with their comical whistling calls, like squeaky bath ducks. Around 1500 golden plover and 1300 lapwing are also spending winter there, along with 350 white-fronted geese and 400 pink-footed geese. It makes for a spectacular sight when a peregrine or marsh harrier passes over and they all rise into the skies in huge swirling clouds. Visit towards dusk and you've also got a good chance of spotting a ghostly barn owl hunting low over the marshes, or hares and Chinese water deer bounding across the surrounding fields. It's lonely, windswept, and wonderfully atmospheric. I'm going there in 10 minutes time - can't wait!
Winter Hues of sadness paint the tired sky.Suffocated by grey clouds.Tears shed heavy.Soaking the skin of this lifeless land. The breath of Winter lingers.An icy grip, harsh strangle on the throat.Silver light of the moon shimmers.The shadow of night creep quickly to cast. Black knarly fingers entangle,Skeleton-like, empty of life, pointing to the heavens,Towering bodies of trees,Their flesh cold and damp.Hush is this land that lies deathly still.Slumber through Winter's long stay-Until the warmth of the sun is reborn.
I was standing outside reception hide the other day when a visitor came up to me with the biggest grin on her face and said that she had seen a goldcrest right next to the bird feeders earlier that day. I have to say I was very jealous, I haven't actually seen one before (remember I am still a novice at spotting things!) but I found the news that these little guys are hanging out with our goldfinches, chaffinches, blue tits and other small birds at Strumpshaw very promising!
I hereby vow to keep my eyes better peeled from now on and pay better attention to every small bird that flits past, as I would absolutely love to see a goldcrest. They are the most adorable little birds and their sad little faces are incredibly endearing!
Next time you're out and about and you see a small bird, don't dismiss it, take a second look. Even if it isn't a goldcrest, it could be a cheeky robin, a bold blue tit or a showy goldfinch. They are all beautiful and incredibly entertaining to watch (blue tits are my favourite, they keep me highly amused when I'm filling the bird feeders).
Here's to the little birds!
John Bridges (rspb-images.com)