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" Siddick Ponds Murmuration"

Date & start time:       25th November 2023. 3.30 pm start.

Location of Start :      Dunmail Park Asda, Workington, Cumbria, Uk. ( NY 001 301).

Places visited :          Siddick Ponds Nature Reserve.

Walk details :              Local walk meandering along the old railway track overlooking the ponds.

Highest point :           Getting the 'nod' about the Starlings in advance.

Walked with :              Loes and the dogs, Dylan and Dougal, and about 20 other on-lookers.

Weather :                     The close of a blue sky day.  Cold enough for gloves.



© Crown copyright. All rights reserved. Licence number PU 100034184.


A local friend had left a message last evening to say that the Starlings have been gathering at dusk

in large numbers down at Siddick Ponds Nature Reserve at Workington, about ten miles from here.

With similar weather today, our guess was that the same would happen tonight, so we drove over to the coast.

The birds gather towards dusk, which at this time of year was about 4pm.

We got there early and there was very little in sight except the steam cloud from the Iggesund Paper Mill just up the coast.

That's better . . . a flight of geese flies in from the north.

Out of the pond we started to see more birds.

A young swan sits gracefully on the water as a mallard paddles by.

Two more swans, these older birds resplendent in white feathers. search for food below the water line.

On the far side of the ponds a cormorant flies in and settles

in order to spread his wings and dry them and possibly to absorb any last warmth of the day.

What could be Golden Eye ducks milling around as the swan swims by.

. . . and goes to meet up with a larger family, out towards the other side of the pond.

A large, sleek bird flies in low above the reeds.

The graceful grey heron is in search of an evening fish supper.

A crow sits silhouetted in the branches close to the path . . . as we all wait for the main show !

Looking up to the sky, the most prominent thing was a large vapour trail left behind from a passing aeroplane.

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The suggestion was that the birds would gather

and fly around at dusk,

prior to settling down for the night.


Last night they gathered by their thousands

and filled the sky with movement

before settling down for the night,

taking advantage of the extensive reed beds here at Siddick.


The skies are clear and we wait in anticipation . . .

then a few starlings begin to appear.


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As they fly around the skies above the ponds, they twist and turn in a small formation.

Each time they turn they seemed to be joined by another flock that had appeared out of nowhere.

They covered the ground, flying far away over the woods opposite . . .

. . . or over here, directly above our heads.

As they moved closer then far away the camera was having difficulty focusing

so I tried it on 'manual' and focused on the distant trees, hoping that would produce a clear image.

Now they were large in number and on the far side of the ponds they acted in unison

and we could see them twisting and turning to form ever-evolving shapes.

Another large flock appeared from nowhere and joined the group.

In the gathering darkness they would fly to the far end of the ponds . . .

. . . only to return moments later.

Their aerial socialising done they suddenly changed their behavior, with sections splitting off from the main flight.

Each group fell into a seemingly suicidal drive towards the ground . . . and totally disappeared !

In less than a minute or so they had all flown into the reed beds

and apart from a few late comers and the odd flurry of wings in the reed bed, they had settled for the night.

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We had been privileged to witness one of the wonders of the bird world

and I hope I have captures an idea of the occasion here and in the following video.

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Click here or on on the picture to watch my short, two minute video on YouTube.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with my iPhone 11pro mobile phone camera or Panasonic Gx8 with a zoom lens

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . nature reserves available for the wildlife.

Go to Home Page . . . © RmH . . . Email me here 

Previous walk - 12th Nov 2023 - Mockerkin Mob - Tower Ridge

A previous time up here - Sorry no photos from here as it was a first for me today.

Next walk - 26th Nov 2023 - Mob Walk - Heughscar hill


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