By Bethany Gleave
Hundreds of pink footed geese charge through the middle of a huge flock of starlings causing mayhem in this dramatic footage.
Andrew Billington, 34, caught the incredible moment while watching 50,000 of starlings fly together at Martin Mere nature reserve, in Tarlscough, Lancashire.
The video shows the migrating starlings – known as a murmuration – putting on an incredible aerial display before being interrupted and split by a flock of geese.
The rare event amazed onlookers with the starlings separating into smaller groups and whirling around above their heads last month [NOV 19].
Andrew said: “As a member of the Wildfowl and Wetlands trust, Martin Mere is a reserve I visit regularly and I have watched the starlings and other birds display here in previous years.
“I had seen some impressive photos and video footage posted online by others over the previous weeks of the starlings so I decided to go and take some of my own.
“I’ve never seen a starling murmuration be split by another flock of birds before.
“I’ve seen skeins of Pink Footed Geese flying in while the starling murmuration has been taking place before but they either pass by them or arrive shortly after.
“However, this time a flock of over 200 geese flew in as the starlings were right in their flight path.
“I am so glad that I was filming at the time and was able to capture their approach and the moment that the starling murmuration parted at the last second to let the geese pass through.
“The rapid movement of the starlings created visible ripples through the flock and some smaller groups splintered off in all directions, which provoked a lot of gasps and admiration from the crowd watching.
“Once the geese had passed, the starlings reformed into a large group and they continued to display for another 15 minutes before finally dropping down into the reed bed to roost.
“There can’t be many places where you can get to see such large numbers of both of these species in such close proximity. It makes for an impressive sight & sound.
“This was probably one of the best displays I have seen.”
Andrew, from Leyland, Lancashire, often visits Martin Mere, where this winter there has been estimated to be more than 50,000 starlings roosting at the reserve on some evenings, which is proving popular with nature-loving visitors.
Andrew said: “This year there are record numbers of starlings for the reserve – there’s estimated to be well over 50,000 birds this year which is three times more than are usually seen here.
“At dusk thousands of starlings begin to gather over the reed bed looking for a place to roost. Smaller groups of birds from the surrounding area fly in forming the large murmuration.
“For up to half an hour they fly in formation creating swirling shapes in the sky as they change direction and height before they finally cascade down into the reed bed or trees where they choose to roost for the night.
“The birds are proving to be a popular attraction with people coming to see the spectacle as no two displays are the same.
“There were over 200 people there to witness the spectacle as the reserve had been hosting it’s annual North West Bird Watching Festival over the weekend.”