A wonderful day out in the countryside! This morning I was ringing in a garden in Severn Beach while tutoring a friend about bird identification - a glorious morning with plenty of skylarks moving overhead, heading north (presumably back to where they came from prior to the cold weather move). Lots of bluetits and great tits in the net including a control that I ringed on the foreshore in May 2008 as a 1st summer bird. Also caught and ringed my first pied wagtail - a smart bird indeed.
In the afternoon we headed off to the Somerset Levels to look for some reedbed birds and wait for the starling spectacular. There was plenty of winter ducks around. Highlights included a sparrowhawk dashing into a bush full of birds at the same time a cat also made a run for the bush. The sparrowhawk appeared to catch something but I think the surprise of the cat made it let go and it flew off empty handed. Later, an alder tree full of 30 or so busy redpolls feeding away was a treat.
Around 4.25pm the starlings appeared and performed well - swirling and gushing through the air before funnelling into the reeds like black smoke. Meanwhile, a huge long line of starlings crossed the skies before also pouring into the reedbeds on the horizon. A truly wonderful experience, shared by 100 or so other people also descending upon the now popular venue!