i think that the little birds were not starlings. they had a rather pronounced white/light stripe above the eyes (the so-called eyebrow
) which starlings don't have.
(edit: or was there actually a dark cap on their heads...? )
they also seemed to have a notch in the tip of the tail. starlings have a straight tail tip: "black; short and square
" says The Field Guide to the Birds of Britain & Europe
unfortunately this detail rules out also the alternative which came to my mind: the redwing. the same guide says about the redwing's tail "brown; medium length, square"
. i didn't see any reddish colour on these little birds but the eyebrow and the spotted bellies reminded me of redwings. besides the spots on the underparts they also seemed to have a stripy backs, which redwings don't have.
actually we have rather a lot of details which should help to rule out a lot of alternatives. unfortunately the camera is not focused to short distance so most of the picture is rather blurred. only the top part is rather focused.
i wish that vainamoinen would have time to take a look at these birds.
edit: it came to my mind that maybe they were siskins?