Last night Sarah, Brendan, Hannah and I had a go at catching Starlings at a roost I recently found near Bwlch-y-Sarnau. Starlings are known for their spectacular nocturnal gatherings and last night's was no exception.
A VERY small percentage of the total number of birds coming in to roost
The roost itself is in a relatively small plantation of ca. 40ft conifers. Because of the numbers involved I didn't want to set nets anywhere where we might catch too many to handle so went for just two nets on the outside of the plantation on the 'approaches'. As it turns out I should maybe have been a bit more adventurous as we only caught 12 birds, about 1 for every 10,000 coming into the roost!!
As you can imagine such gatherings attract the attention of all kinds of predators and at least two Peregrines, 1 Goshawk, 2 Sparrowhawks and a couple of Buzzards were milling around choosing lunch. Unfortunately, one of them (probably a Goshawk by the description) briefly spent time sitting in one of the mist-nets but managed to get out before I could run around from the other side of the plantation!
A lamping session afterwards produced 9 new Woodcock out of about 40 odd seen - a much more satisfying catch rate to end the night on.