Monday, 22 December 2014

I must go down to the reeds today..

Busy making the most of a gap in Christmas activities and so raced down to the reed beds to see the murmeration this evening. Although the great swooshing rivers of starlings stream over our house each evening at 3.45 and back the other way out into the farmland at 8 in the morning, I hadn't actually watched them pouring into the reed-beds this winter and tonight I still managed to miss them. With my camera slung over my shoulder I walked hastily from the enormous new carpark, over the newly built footbridge and along the track by the old Glastonbury canal to the familiar  Ham Wall roost. It rapidly became clear that I was almost alone and after asking someone walking the other way I was informed that the roost had moved and was now at the Shapwick end of the Mere reedbeds. Feeling like a prize lemon I trotted the mile or so back along the path, soon the only person walking against the tide of other bird watchers heading back to their cars. Not prepared to accept defeat I watched the last flights of birds scooping in low over the trees and found myself standing alone again by the now still roost listening to the interference of many thousands of settling starlings chatting in amongst the reeds. As the daylight faded over the beautiful still marshlands I walked back and listened the familiar repeating call of a tawny owl over to my left. I don't know why I don't go for more walks at night, the bird calls are sometimes quite strange and unlike the noises of the day while other sounds are very recognisable, the muscular wheezing of low flying geese passing overhead as I get back to the car in the empty carpark built to accommodate the crowds now parking elsewhere, for this year at least.

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