starling spectacular

 2 NIGHT PACKAGE

UPCOMING DATES: 22-24 NOV,4-6 DEC 2019, 15-17 JAN, 24-26 jan, 12-14 fEB 2020

Overview

To see  half a million of anything is breathtaking – but to see up to half a million Starlings fly in their liquid murmuration is truly a sight to behold. If the conditions are right, the skies can darken as first one group arrives to roost in the reed beds of Ham Wall – then another larger one arrives, then another then another. They just keep coming. It is simply bewildering. 

What we want is a belligerent passing Peregrine or a hungry Marsh Harrier with attitude – then Bingo! The sky is full of the largest flock/swarm/shoal/plague of birds you have ever seen – turning one way then the next. Somerset’s murmurations of starlings on a crisp winter dusk is the stuff of legend, and has to be seen to be believed.

 

Your itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Walls Farm by 2.00pm settle in to your comfortable cottage accommodation.

After a cup of tea we will head off for an afternoon visit to RSPB’s reserve Ham Wall to hopefully view the spectacular display of up to one million starlings in a murmuration prior to their roost in the reed beds. This is truly one of nature’s most spectacular aerobatic displays, and if a passing Peregrine or Marsh Harrier shows up it gets even more tasty.

In the evening a Welcome Dinner including canapes and wine will be served in Walls Farm in the evening with your hosts Stephen, Graeme and Kay Mitchell to brief you about our planned birdwatching excursions.

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Day 2

Breakfast is in your cottage – fresh eggs, cereal, yoghurts, bread, muesli homemade preserves all provided in your accommodation for you to prepare.

Morning visit Steart Marshes near Bridgwater. This is a wonderful site with good hides, good birds and good loos. Many thousands of lapwing and golden plover overwinter here along with many differing duck species. A good place too for spotting peregrine and merlin. We will continue to the coast at Wall Common to look for curlew, dunlin and other shore birds. We will return inland to West Sedgemoor to look for our Somerset Cranes. While they are jolly big birds they can prove very elusive in this vast landscape - but we’ll give it a go.

Light pub lunch will be included.

A stop at RSPB Greylake is always good in winter with thousands of ducks close up to the hide with many snipe and often godwits to be seen. Depending on our success the previous evening at Ham Wall we may return if conditions are better or alternatively visit one of the other bird reserves on the Levels.

Return to Walls Farm by about 5.30pm by crossing Tealham and Tadham moors looking out for Barn owls.

The evening will be a relaxed affair with an excellent dinner and good conversation about birding adventures past, present and future .

 

Day 3

Breakfast is in your cottage – fresh eggs, bread muesli, home-made preserves provided

Morning visit Cheddar Reservoir for ducks such as Goldeneye, Goosander, Pochard and a huge number of over-wintering Coots. We then may visit Cheddar Gorge itself for dipper, grey wagtail and a nice drop of cheese before a quick visit to a local wood (time permitting).

Return to Walls Farm by around 12.30 when it will be time to depart and head for home. (lunch not included)

 

 

Dates

Upcoming dates for the 'Starling Spectacular' Package

22-24 Nov 2019

4-6 Dec 2019

15-17 Jan 2020

24-26 Jan 2020

12-14 Feb 2020

Price

£399 per person (sharing a twin room)

Single room supplement £40

 

SWALLOW'S REST - SLEEPS UP TO 4
Features: One twin/double bed plus two comfortable sofa beds, outside seating area, kitchen, wc/shower room, log burner, wi-fi.

From £399 / Per person

THE DUCK HOUSE - SLEEPS UP TO 4
Features: Two good-sized en-suite bedrooms, outside seating area, kitchen, log burner, wi-fi.

From £399 / Per person

 

Things to remember

While most of our bird walks will be on good paths, sometimes we will go ‘off-piste’ or go through wet grass, so please bring suitable footwear (hiking boots or wellies). Wet weather gear is recommended – a waterproof jacket and over-trousers. It is unlikely that any one single walk would be more than a couple of miles.

Please bring your own binoculars (8x32 are ideal) we have some spare pairs however please advise if you require use of these. It is not essential to have a telescope. Both Stephen and Graeme have top of the range Swarovski telescopes and where appropriate we will set one or both up if we want to zoom into a particular bird or flock. In many ways it can be more of a hindrance if our whole party is fiddling with telescopes and not enjoying the moment.

Cameras and telephoto lenses again can be cumbersome however this is very much up to the individual to carry and look after themselves, but please note this is not a photographic holiday.

Walls Farm has a lovely heated indoor swimming pool, if you would like to use it please ask if it is convenient and understand that the pool is never supervised and is used at the individuals own risk.

 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • Expert ornithological guiding throughout

  • Accommodation

  • Welcome dinner with wine and canapes

  • Informal supper

  • Breakfast baskets

  • Teas/coffees and additional refreshments as stated on your confirmed itineraries

  • Entrance to all birdwatching sites


ornithological guides

On all tours it is expected that Stephen Moss will be the expert Ornithological guide ably assisted by Graeme Mitchell a keen and experienced birdwatcher.


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