Phenomena worth travelling
AKA Flocking, sort sol (black sun)
What is it? The amassing and movement of a large flock of roosting starlings; murmurations occur just before dusk, autumn and winter.
Where? Murmurations seem particular to the common starling (Sturnus vulgaris). The birds like to roost in sheltered spots such as woods and reedbeds, though are happy in urban settings too.
A murmuration is a like an avian aurora. The birds perhaps 100,000 of them twist and billow as the lights do, creating ever shifting shapes; they swirl like smoke, explode in blooms and plummet like waterfalls. Each bird somehow reacts to those around it, so the flock flurries as one.
The UK is a prime spot good locations include Gretna Green, Leighton Moss in Lancashire, Saltholme near Middlesbrough and the Somerset Levels. The latter has an RSPB Starling Hotline (07866 554 142) so you can get up to date info on the most likely roost sites.
In Denmark, they call this phenomena the black sun from mid March to mid April and mid September to mid October, the skies over Jutland s marshes are painted black by the starlings wings.