One of the noises from the past which never fails to deposit me somewhere else is the sound of nesting, brooding starlings. Autumn and winter early evenings in Birmingham City Centre and the starling-noise was unbelievable. Some time in the 1970s the City Council's pigeon removal methods also removed all the starlings and the place now has a different sound-track. I don't return often enough to have it on recall yet.
But starlings are congregational birds. Over the summer they raise young in smallish groups and then start getting together. On our estate we start to see five or six sitting together on TV aerials (remember those) and lamp-posts. Then they begin flying around together.
Yesterday, and despite the hype the Mustard estate is a small, suburban garden, twenty eight of them pitched up and started clearing the newly mowed lawn of leather jackets and the like. Good work. Most of them were transitional in colour; grey brown fluff merging with the delightful greeny-black yellow iridescence of their adult plumage. There have been large broods this year.
Fully clothed starlings are very beautiful. They've had bad PR if you think they are ugly, black birds.
And soon their displays of aerial mathematics in huge numbers over the Somerset Levels will attract sight-seers so fine is it.
Big up to the starlings.