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Watch: Starlings' stunning sky dance over Shropshire nature reserve

By Sue Austin | Wem | News | Published:

A spectacular aerobatic display over a Shropshire nature reserve is drawing families, photographers and twitters to marvel at the performance.

At sunset every evening, tens of thousands of starlings flock to roost in at Whixall Moss, near Wem, carrying out their "murmuration" in the sky before diving down to roost in the trees.

News of the murmuration has spread, with scores of people driving out to the reserve to watch.

Christopher Burrage, 37, who lives in Whixall where he runs a gardening business, He has been watching the display each evening and captured it on video.

Watch his video here:

Birds' amazing aerobatic display over a Shropshire nature reserve

Mr Burrage said: "I have been interested in wildlife and photography for a number of years.

"I am lucky enough to live in Whixall and, with so much wildlife on my doorstep on a daily basis I decided to share it with the public though my Wildlife in Whixall Facebook page. It's been wonderful to see people, especially families with children coming to see the starlings."

One family who visited the moss recently was Sally Richards, from Wem, her daughter Hayley and grandchildren, two year old Emmie, Harry, five and Grace, eight. Grace said she was excited to tell her teacher at St Peter's School Wem of the spectacle.

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Sally said: "Its absolutely incredible and right on our door step."

Keen photographers Dic Bickerton and Gail Richardson drove from Shrewsbury.

Mr Bickerton, president of the Shropshire Photographic Society, said: "I am sure more members will be making a trip here."

Gail said: "What more could you want, sunset, the moon and this wonderful sight of the murmuration."

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But Natural England, which jointly manages the nature reserve, is urging people to see the display before it ends.

Mike Crawshaw, community engagement officer, said: "It's getting quite crowded down there at the moment and we have a lot of people coming out to see the spectacle.

Starlings in the moonlight

"Some evenings we have had between 200 and 300 people watching, which is quite incredible. However, they were still far outnumbered by the starlings."

About 60,000 starlings swoop over the nature reserve shortly before 4pm and complete the 40-minute sky dance.

The birds started arriving a couple of weeks ago and have returned night after night - much to the delight of the locals.

But Mr Crawshaw is urging people to see them as soon as possible as there is no saying how long they will keep returning.

He added: "We're actually really surprised it's gone on this long. They may not be there tonight but it could go on until March - we just don't know. It's a real one off.

"A local man who has lived in the area for 60 years said it is the biggest murmuration he has ever seen. We're not 100 per cent sure why they've chosen to come here - it could be because of the food sources - but we feel very lucky.

"The sky dance is absolutely incredible. It is most certainly one of the wonders of nature and one that everyone should see."

Visitors are asked not to park on the lane and use the car park available near by.

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.

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