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Watch out there are starlings about!

RSPB Scotland is warning that there are dark clouds forming overhead this autumn. But thankfully rather than meaning something foreboding they form part of one of the UK’s most incredible wildlife spectacles. Hundreds of thousands of starlings will turn the sky black around the UK in the next few weeks, as they come together in huge clouds, wheeling and swooping in unison.

The jaw-dropping wildlife exhibition, known as a ‘murmuration’ can be seen on many of the nature reserves and other sites across Scotland, and the RSPB is organising up close and personal viewings.

Many of the autumn roosts are already forming well, and more and more will flock together as the weeks go on, with numbers swelling to around 100,000 in some places. Early evening, just before dusk, is the best time to see them as they choose their communal night time shelter.

The huge gatherings are at their largest in winter, as they are boosted by thousands of migrant birds visiting from the European continent for Britain’s milder Atlantic climate.

They join forces for safety in numbers in case of predators and to keep warm at night. They also exchange information, such as good feeding areas. They often feed miles away from where they roost and return each evening.  On many sites you can almost set your watch by their arrival.

Popular sites to see starlings include: Loch Spynie in Moray, Gretna Green, RSPB Mersehead (Dumfries and Galloway) and RSPB Loch of Strathbeg (Aberdeenshire)

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