Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Starling Squad

Many thanks to Jeff Higgott for posting this clip on YouTube – it’s a Central News report from November 1984 on the work of Leicester Polytechnic’s ‘Starling Squad’, which was formed to investigate (and try to get rid of if possible) the huge Starling roost in Leicester’s Abbey Park.

It’s very poignant seeing my old ringing trainer Jim Fowler interviewed here, as sadly he died last month. Strange to think that he was younger than I am now when this was filmed. Also in the clip, pretending to catch roosting Starlings in broad daylight, are Will Peach (holding the net), Jeff (with hair!), Dave ‘Hodders’ Hodson (with head torch.... in daylight) and Richard Seddon. I think I must have got involved with the Starling Squad shortly after this was filmed. This was my first introduction to ringing, and I spent many nights over the next couple of winters with the team in Abbey Park catching and ringing thousands of Starlings. Happy days!

And here’s a scan of my official Starling Squad badge – there can’t be many of these around!


Russ Malin said...

Sad news about Jim. He gave a few talks to us at the LYBWC back in the day and he was a very likeable chap. At about 2 mins 23 in the clip what are the birds swimming past? Goldeneye? Goosander?

The Leicester Llama said...

Can't tell on that size! Goosander certainly used to winter on the boating lake in Abbey Park though (and still do for all I know), so perhaps that's what they are.