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Thousands of birds cram into tiny ground patches for winter roost

“It’s one of the world's great wildlife spectacles and occurs on the highest high tides in autumn."

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By Josie Adnitt via SWNS

This stunning footage shows tens of thousands of birds crammed onto tiny patches of ground in Norfolk, England for the winter roost.

David Tipling, 57, has travelled up to The Wash- a bay and multiple estuary- in Snettisham, England annually for three decades to capture the incredible scenes.

And he was there again this year to film the natural phenomenon, where thousands of knot birds stand shoulder-to-shoulder, moving in restless waves.

The birds come from colder climates, and undertake one of the longest migrations of any animal.

They come from their Arctic breeding grounds to the coasts and estuaries of Europe, Africa and Australia, where they spend the winter feasting on invertebrates.

“At this time of year we have some of the highest tides of the year,"said professional photographer David.

"On the really high tides, the seawater covers the mud on The Wash which pushes the birds off the mud flats.

“They have to find other ground to roost on – there’s a couple of gravel pits with islands in the middle which are safe roosting places for the birds.

“They come onto these islands for a couple of hours during the high tides. There are so many birds crammed onto these small islands.

“When they first come in they’re quite excited and do this rush, like a football crowd charging forward.

“It’s one of the world's great wildlife spectacles and occurs on the highest high tides in autumn.

“I’ve been photographing the roost for about 30 years now – you always say ‘wow’ to yourself because it’s so spectacular to see in real life.

“It’s quite anthropomorphic in some ways, you can relate it to human crowds pushing along and it just brings a smile to your face.”

The birds are also known to take to the air, which is sometimes referred to as the "Snettisham spectacular."

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