Monday, 1 January 2018

12. RSPB Buckenham Marshes

A soggy start to New Years Eve I thought may have doused our plans for wildlife watching. Happily, I was wrong, and once the day had brightened, we headed out to RSPB Buckenham Marshes.

At first, all seemed quiet, with just a few dabbling mute swans and moorhens picking at the wind swept grass. But, as we ventured further, the unmistakable sound of whistling wigeon and the contented honks of conversational greylags reached our ears.

High above, a marsh harrier flapped lazily, not in the mood for hunting. Below, on the marsh, a desert of lapwings showed off their chunky wings, setting off small murmurations of starlings. Each unsettled the other, building tension. At the other end, all was calm with some sleepy wigeon and resting swans, but, as we turned, the sky was full of drama; there were too many things to grab at our attention.

To our left and right, were the incoming formations of greylag geese ready to join their kin on the marsh for the evening. Ahead, were the dark specks of what looked like inverted snow, but were actually a mixed flock of corvids making their way in for their roosting spectacular. To our left was what was building to be a huge starling murumuration; moving as one dark and mysterious superorganism against the sky.

The numbers of rooks and jackdaws swelled as they coalesced in a huge mushroom shaped stand of trees, weighing down it's uppermost branches with their dark forms. Others aggregated on telephone wires before joining the host tree, each new set of arrivals aggravating those already there. When some unknown critical mass was reached, all took off as one, visibly darkening the sky as they headed for the roost site.

What an unforgettable way to end 2017!


  1. It's great to get out on the 1st Jan :)
    Love the last photo, that one starlings movement is fab.

    1. Thank you! I took so many photos of the rooks, but thought it would be good to try to show a bit of movement, individuals certainly didn't stay still for long!