The murmurations of West Cork

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | January 15, 2018 0

The moment hundreds of starlings gathered together to perform a spectacular murmuration has been caught on camera.

Grouping together to form different shapes, the birds could be seen flying over their roosting site before suddenly swooping to the ground for the night. Birdwatch Ireland West Cork Branch captured this incredible footage in Timoleague, Co Cork showing the moment a Peregrine Falcon arrived during a starling murmuration and was unable to make a kill. In the stunning video, the birds can be seen grouping together to form different swooping shapes before making their way to their roosting site for the night.

‘This was certainly the best Peregrine Falcon interaction. It’s been going on since the beginning of November. I go every day . As the winter goes on the number of birds is building up. Most of these birds will be from Scandinavia and Russia spending the winter here’, Peter Wolstenholme from West Cork Birdwatch said.  ‘Every few days the Peregrine pays a visit, but the murmuration confuses it and I haven’t seen it take a bird . A sparrow hawk did the same with no success and then learnt to go and sit in the wood where they roost and grab one when they come in. It’s the most exciting wildlife happening anywhere in Ireland.’

‘I find this more fascinating than the Northern Lights’, a reader commented on Birdwatch Ireland West Cork Branch’s Facebook post. Another posted, ‘Amazing! Obviously, the birds do it when there is a predator about’. Simply incredible.

Because of West Corks special position on the Atlantic “toe” of Ireland it is on many important migration routes between Greenland, Iceland, Europe and Africa and its combination of wild hills, headlands, coves, islands and mud flats provides roosts for migrating and native birds. It attracts visitors from all over to see the amazing spectacle of migration and see birds from America, Europe and Asia which turn up on West Cork headlands each autumn and spring. University College Cork provides support to scientific studies and there is a permanent bird observatory on Cape Clear Island.

West Cork has very active branches of Birdwatch Ireland protecting birds and biodiversity in West Cork one of the most unspoilt and traditional parts of Ireland on the Wild Atlantic Way. So come along and enjoy the natural world of West Cork.

BEST EVER MURMURATION UPDATE 13.1.18.Birds gathered over us at 16.50. At 17.10. The Peregrine arrived. It can be seen in this video, unable to make a kill. All this happened above my head. Lucky 7 of us who saw it. See you tomorrow.

Posted by Birdwatch Ireland West Cork Branch on Saturday, 13 January 2018

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