Starling spectacle in the centre of Gloucester

As in previous years, there is a fair-sized Starling roost in central Gloucester, in Great Western Road, just behind the station.  This evening, flocks were in the air from just before 16h45, going silently round and round, never straying more than a few hundred yards from above the site of the roost.  More and more birds joined them – there were perhaps five thousand (?) at the end.  A passing Peregrine took no notice, but twice a Sparrowhawk showed interest, without attempting to catch one.  The roost is in a line of conifers, seven trees, maybe twenty metres high, in about fifteen yards,  They all dived into the conifers at about 17h20 (very close to lighting up time), and started to chatter on landing, whereas they had been very quiet before.

Why this flying round before they roost, which must use up a lot of energy in midwinter?

Passers-by seemed to enjoy the sight, though nobody had parked their cars along the roadside beneath the trees.

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