Starling Murmurations at Rough Tor

Wrapped up warmly against the very chilly wind we set off from the carpark onto the slopes of Rough Tor heading towards Showery Tor. There were wonderful views to be had when taking a breather as we climbed. 

Across to Stannon Clay works

The east wind was quite biting as we reached the ridge so many of us took shelter on the west side of Showery Tor.

Pete Bousfield explained the theory of all the small rocks around the Tor as possibly being placed there as sign of veneration to the Tor by the bronze age or neolithic people that once inhabited this area, the evidence of which is scattered across the slopes in the form of rock circles and enclosures. 

Leaving Showery Tor before dusk

Our downhill return to the carpark was pretty speedy. Several more people joined us for refreshments before we made our way to a viewing spot, either up the hill from the car park or back out on the nothern slopes of Rough Tor. We were all rewarded with spectacular viewings of huge flocks of starlings coming in to roost in the plantation east of the carpark.

 

Flying low over our heads

From just after 5pm for around 30 minutes they just kept coming in their hundreds of thousands. Huge flocks flew, from the west, pretty low right over the heads of the group nearest the car park.   For those out on the Moor the biggest flocks came from the east and south east and appeared as a shifting grey clouds in the distance. Some flocks joined and gave a short display above the tree line before rapidly dropping into the trees.  Several buzzards were spotted preying on the starlings on the perimeters of the woodland. We were delighted, that in all, 33 people enjoyed the starling spectacle, including a family from South Devon holidaying nearby who'd picked up a link to our website only that morning. 

As the dusk deepened and the sky darkened, snow began to fall stinging our faces and shining in the headlights~ a reminder that it is still winter... And I forgot to add the discovery by Dave & Pete of some otter spraint under the bridge as you walk onto the moor.

Over to the tor ring cairn enclosure     On Showery Tor Photos left Irene Nash

The Rough Tors from Showery          Flying low over the field 

Species Seen:
Starlings, Buzzards, Lapwing in the fields and otter spraint underneath the clapper bridge leading onto the moor.