I sat outside with my bowl of cornflakes, enjoying a rare moment of peace in the early morning sunshine. In the uppermost branches of the tall conifer that overlooks our garden, were a multitude of Starlings. How many, I could not hazard a guess at, some were in full view while others were merely ghostly heads showing through the foliage.
The Starlings were unusually quiet, normally an endless chatter will emanate from the gathering and at times be amazingly loud.
Suddenly with a great Whoosh, an explosion of wing-beats took the Starlings as one up into the air. Impossible to count of course, but a quick estimate would be greater than fifty but less than a hundred, birds had risen from the tree top. I had not been aware of any noise or close activity that may have spooked them, I wondered if perhaps the Sparrowhawk who has been making a regular appearance had flown into view.
What I did see however as I looked up into the sky were more Starlings, two separate flocks in fact circling overhead, almost as though they had come to call for the others. All the birds joined together, with three flocks becoming one as they disappeared over the rooftops, heading for who knows where.
I was left with the feeling that those Starlings I had been watching in the top of the conifer tree a minute ago were indeed waiting for the other birds to call for them. Almost as though they had made arrangements the night before, "We'll come around for you in the morning," "see you about 7 o'clock."
I wondered where they might be going to, a trip to the fields to find some nice moist grassland rich in grubs and worms, the Starlings favourite food.
Or maybe it was a day trip to "Alton Towers" - they can get in there for Free.