Winter watch starlings’ synchronised aerobatic display

The BBC’s Winterwatch may have ended but there is a true winter spectacle happening close to home – at the Trust’s Cossington Meadows Nature Reserve.

Dusk at the nature reserve is a magical place to see thousands of what is one of our most charismatic bird species – the starling.

Watch huge flocks gather and fly at speed in a fascinating aerial ballet. Known as a murmuration, this synchronised display constantly changes shape – a fish? a ribbon?  a circle? – before plunging to the reedbeds to roost overnight.

You can usually watch this fabulous wildlife display from one of the main paths on the nature reserve (head for Moor Pool) but stout waterproof footwear is needed – and a torch, just in case you linger a little too long!

Watch a ‘taster’ of what is happening by going to the Leicester Mercury’s website and search for murmuration of starlings to see videomaker Bill Newsinger’s amazing film of starlings forming a series of stunning shapes in the sky above Cossington Meadows a few days ago – as well as local photographer James Brown’s great footage of a trip to the nature reserve in December. 

See your Nature Reserve Guide or go the Trust's website for location and more details of Cossingtom Meadows Nature Reserve.

Photograph: A murmuration of starlings (c. Jamie Hall)

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