Starling murmurations

We're keeping track of where starlings are gathering in our three counties for their beautiful aerial displays.

Autumn and winter in the UK is a fantastic time to see the aerial displays of huge numbers of starlings as they flock together before roosting in the early evenings. Known as 'murmurations' - either for the sound their collective wings make, or for the undulating shapes they make in the sky (no-one really knows!) - there are a few places on our patch that you have a good chance of spotting them.

The murmurations usually start again around November, after the birds have all returned from their breeding sites and begun to gather as a flock again, but can sometimes be seen from as early as September. Numbers usually swell in December/January as migrant birds join our resident flocks for extra safety and warmth.

The best time of day to see them is just as the sun is setting and they are settling down, or when the sun is rising and they all take off together in a huge whoosh of wings. You don't need any special equipment. If you can find somewhere quiet, and they pass right over your head, it's worth tuning in your ears as well as your eyes. You'll hear the sound of their wings flapping like the very air itself is gently murmuring.

We'll keep you updated with the latest sightings around our three counties, and if you've seen a murmuration yourself, please do let us know!

Please note: By their very nature, the flocks often move and we cannot guarantee their showing at any of the suggested sites. The birds roost every night, but don't necessarily flock and murmurate each time. Not all murmurations happen conveniently near a car park or nature reserve. Please respect private property and be careful not to trespass or trample.


Summer Leys, Northamptonshire

Starlings have returned in 2018 in quite large numbers, and there are lots of pictures and videos online. They are often displaying at dusk and viewable from our Summer Leys nature reserve

Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire

There have been one or two sightings in November at Titchmarsh nature reserve, and a video shared on Twitter.

Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire

The roost is building up for 2018 with several hundred often displaying over Godmanchester nature reserve. Our roaming reporter Harry Hog has captured them. 

Storton's Pits, Northamptonshire

A few hundred starlings have been seen to be gathering at our Storton's Pits nature reserve, where the birds roost in reed beds.

Starlings murmurating in a dusk sky over the Nene Wetlands

Starlings at the Nene Wetlands by Julia Rushton

Nene Wetlands and the Nene Valley, Northamptonshire

With a wide range of roosting-friendly habitat, there's a chance to see a murmuration across the whole of the Nene Valley. Past years have seen some great displays above the Nene Wetlands and Rushden Lakes shopping centre, and some have been spotted this year by our volunteer Julia Rushton who shared this picture on Facebook.

Dogsthorpe Star Pit, Cambridgeshire

A few hundred starlings have been seen murmurating over this nature reserve near Peterborough in 2018.

Fen Drayton Lakes, Cambridgeshire

This RSPB nature reserve sees flocks 5,000+ strong, and they're back for 2018

Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire

Near to our Sharnbrook Summit nature reserve, starlings have been seen to gather on the telegraph wires along Mill Road near Sharnbrook itself and display above this area. 

Hampton Vale, Cambridgeshire

One of our members and chair of our Peterborough Local Group Sarah Lambert, who is a wonderful photographer among her many other areas of expertise, spotted and photographed "the moment when I nearly whooped with joy, as thousands of starlings flew just a few feet above me" during a murmuration at Hampton Vale near Peterborough. Their numbers seem to be building here.

Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire

Starlings are beginning to gather at this gravel pits nature reserve to roost in the reedbed, and can sometimes be seen displaying over Little Paxton village and our Education Centre at Paxton Pits.

The Great Fen, Cambridgeshire

Roosts have been seen in past years at Wicken Fen and Tubney Fen, part of the Great Fen project.


For more information across the rest of the UK, visit the starling murmurations and roost map hosted by Starlings in the UK.