The account in the recently published Birds of Exmoor and the Quantocks by Ballance, Gibbs and Butcher, for the common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) gave rise to our decision to survey these birds on Exmoor during 2017. We reproduce part of of the account here:
"As a breeder, it was spreading in the mid 19th cent. and appears to have reached N Devon only about 1850. In 1869 it was noted as increasing in Somerset. In the early 1990s the New Atlas called attention to a widespread decline in Northern Europe, and this began to be noticed in West Somerset. There were still woodland colonies at this time, especially in Horner, and it is uncertain when these died out. One instance of local decline was in Porlock. By 2000 losses and low numbers were being noted elsewhere............Losses have been attributed to the poor survival rate of chicks, because of inadequate supplies of crane-fly larvae on modern grassland."
We are asking you to send us reports of any Starlings you see in Minehead and Exmoor area during 2017.
Please note estimated number of birds seen together in a flock whether just one or two or several thousand, along with date seen, exactly where seen with OS grid ref. if known. We also need to know if any nests are found or proof of successful broods such as juvenile birds and whether you discover any roosts probably of birds from the Continent in Autumn.
Reports may be emailed to our Secretary:firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to our Bird Recorder: Roger Butcher, Ashdown, East Anstey, Tiverton EX16 9JJ.