Nature

Watch: Tipperary farmer Ailbhe Gerrard captures murmuration of starlings over Lough Derg

Fantastic display as thousands of birds take to the air

Tipperary Star reporter

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Tipperary Star reporter

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A magnificent display of starlings gathering over Lough Derg has been captured on video by Coolbawn farmer Ailbhe Gerrard.

Ailbhe, who farms at Brookfield Farm, spotted the display - called a murmuration - earlier this month and posted her video online to Facebook. 

"It’s astonishing that more than 35,000 people have seen this video I made - in their Facebook and Instagram feeds - and more than 15,000 people have clicked to view the video. I’m astonished and delighted at how people have wanted to share this natural phenomenon. Nature is such a power to affect the human spirit, and it’s great that people want to connect with nature," Ailbhe told the Tipperary Star.

She was was aware of the starlings flocking as Brookfield Farm is on Lough Derg and she can see starlings gathering to flock from November to March. A friend, Amie in Luska also spotted the murmuration, but Ailbhe said that the flocks had been getting bigger lately.

She said that such murmurations are a common sight on Lough Derg, but, as a natural phenomenon, you never know exactly where the birds will gather and fly and finally roost.

Ailbhe is involved with the group, Community Supported Agriculture, and they had a planning meeting on her farm when the murmuration was unfolding and she bought them along to see it.

"They were amazed," she said.

Ailbhe's approach to farming is not limited to food – she also tries to produce better land for nature - and she was recently nominated for a Farming for Nature award, which, she said was a great honour.

"This is particularly enthusing for me as I’m farming in a way to try to help biodiversity and nature. Land management on Brookfield Farm is designed to provide safe spaces for insects - and of course this benefits birds, mammals and water living beings," she said.

Brookfield Farm has also been shortlisted for the RDS Forestry awards and the inaugural RDS Talamh Awards for Sustainable Farming, which take place this April.