The Starling Roost

Starling murmurations are a true wonder of the natural world and the Avalon Marshes host this amazing wildlife spectacle every year.

Two Starlings perched in a bramble bush.
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Time your visit

When is the best time to come and see the murmurations?

Many of the Starlings are migrants from the colder areas of Northern Europe, with birds gathering from November right through until the start of March. During weekends and over the Christmas period, we usually experience the highest number of visitors. Consider visiting outside of peak times such as weekdays, or in the morning when the birds fly up spectacularly from the reedbeds.

The Starlings leave the marshes during the day and go off to feed, some up to 20 miles away. They return in the afternoon and the murmurations can start an hour or so before sunset. Arriving before 3.30pm will ensure that you catch the spectacle but the Starlings tend to return earlier when it is cloudy but stay out longer when it is brighter to take advantage of extra feeding time.

The Starlings can be just as spectacular when they leave their roost in the morning as tens of thousands of birds erupt out of the reeds all at once. This usually happens about half an hour before sunrise, so 7.30am tends to be a good time to see this stunning show. If you’d like to visit the reserve in the daytime instead, we also have some fantastic other wildlife to see such as Bitterns, Marsh Harriers and majestic Great White Egrets.

How do I know where the Starlings will be?

The Starling roost shifts on a regular basis. Call the Starling hotline on 07866 554142 to find out which reserve the birds were roosting on the night before. The Starling hotline operates from 1 November to 28 February. Please note this is an automated line and we are unable to reply to messages.

Starling murmuration at Ham Wall.

What you need to know

Our Ham Wall car park has limited spaces available for visitors – please do not be surprised if we have to turn you away due to reaching our site capacity.

Please do not park on the road – be considerate of our neighbours and the need for emergency vehicle access at all times. If the car park is full or closed, then the site is at capacity - please return to visit the roost another day or choose a different roost to visit.

Come early to beat the crowds, arriving in the car park before 3.30pm at the latest to catch the spectacle. Please note that there may be a walk of up to 30 minutes depending on where the starlings are roosting. We recommend arriving by 2pm - there is lots of other wildlife to discover out on the reserve beforehand. The postcode for the car park is BA6 9SX. It can be very cold out on the reserve so dress for the weather bringing plenty of warm layers, stout footwear and thick socks. Please bring a face covering with you, if you are able to wear one.

The walk back will be dark so bring a torch to help you get back to your car safely. Parking costs £3 per car or is free for RSPB members (display your membership card on your dash) in the RSPB Ham Wall car park. Payment is taken via credit or debit card.

Be mindful of the sensitive habitat around the reserve - please stick to the paths. There are no bins at any of the sites across the Avalon Marshes, so please take your rubbish home with you to avoid harming our sensitive wildlife.

Dogs at Ham Wall

Dogs are only permitted on the main track and footpath running along the Glastonbury canal (Red Route) at RSPB Ham Wall and must be kept on a lead at all times. There are no dog poo bins in the Avalon Marshes so please come prepared to take your dog's waste home with you. Dogs are not permitted on Shapwick Heath NNR.

A Starling murmuration at dawn.

Thank you for your continued support and if you have not already, please do consider joining or donating to help fund the work of the RSPB, so we can continue to improve our habitats and reserves for both people and wildlife at this difficult time. For the latest from RSPB Ham Wall, you can follow our Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you are unable to see the Starlings at RSPB Ham Wall this year, please visit starlingsintheuk.co.uk to find your local alternative roost. If you’re travelling from further afield, there is also a great range of our other reserves that host starling murmurations that are worthwhile visiting instead, including:

RSPB Exe Estuary, Devon

RSPB Marazion Marsh, Cornwall

RSPB Newport Wetlands, Gwent

RSPB Dungeness, Kent

RSPB Fairburn Ings, West Yorkshire

RSPB St Aidan's, West Yorkshire

RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk

RSPB Frampton Marsh, Lincolnshire

RSPB Saltholme, County Durham

RSPB Leighton Moss, Lancashire

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