VIDEO: Amazing winter wildlife spectacle at Potteric

Local people are being wowed by a nightly winter wildlife spectacle at Potteric Carr.

Thousands of starlings are putting on an impressive nightly display at Doncaster’s premier nature reserve - turning the dusky sky into an amazing swirling skyscape of birds.

A starling murmuration

A starling murmuration

The nightly display of swirling and winding acrobatics put on by a large group of starlings above Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in Doncaster has helped brighten up winter nights.

The impressive natural spectacle as the sun starts to go down in the sky has been drawing in fans over the past few days.

As dusk strikes the sky darkens with hundreds of thousands of starlings that are collecting together before going to roost for the night. Together they move in sync creating wonderful shapes in the sky. Although the exact location of the starling’s ‘mumuration’, as this display of acrobatics is known, moves position slightly each evening, they have consistently collected above Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s flagship nature reserve.

To date as many as 40,000 starlings have gathered above the wetland nature reserve, which spans over 200 hectares and is home to almost 160 species of birds.

Andy Dalton, the Trust’s manager at Potteric Carr said: “The nightly display exhibited by a growing group of starlings over the winter has been simply spell-bounding to watch. As we have progressed further into winter the numbers of birds coming to join in has continued to expand.

“Whilst we assume starling choose to roost in large numbers so as to keep warm and better protect themselves from predators by having lots of birds on lookout, the precise reasons behind their extraordinary display before settling down for the night is currently up for debate.”

With starling numbers in decline, the uncertainty around why starling puts on this display, which could be considered as one of the UK’s finest natural spectacle, has come under the spotlight, with a citizen science project launched last year to try to better understand their movements.

To try and catch Potteric Carr’s starling mumuration over the coming week, ensure you arrive at the nature reserve around 3.30pm; most evenings the displays begins around 4pm, but as the location can be uncertain on this large site, it is worth leaving a bit of time to get around. Who knows, once you’ve witnessed it, maybe you could help the citizen science project by filling in their questionnaire:

For more information about Potteric Carr Nature Reserve in Doncaster and how to reach their visit