Spot­ting bird was pure gold

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

MUCH ex­cite­ment here in this weekly col­umn – I saw my first gold­crest this week.

Yes, I was walk­ing along a canal path and in the bushes I heard a ‘twid­dly, twid­dly, twid­dly, twid­dlee­d­idee’ and saw a tiny bird hop­ping from bush to bush.

I ac­tu­ally be­lieve that Bri­tain’s small­est bird was chas­ing me out of his ter­ri­tory be­cause he or she was within an arm’s length at one stage.

Its close prox­im­ity made it dif­fi­cult for me to take a pic­ture with my tele­photo – in fact too dif­fi­cult.

Gold­crests are tiny birds of conif­er­ous woods, parks and gar­dens.

We have res­i­dent birds but they are joined by large num­bers on the east coast dur­ing their au­tumn mi­gra­tion.

They will also seek out warmer ar­eas of the coun­try so don’t be sur­prised to see them in bushes on the sand dunes.

While there is some ev­i­dence of an in­crease in gold­crests in the re­gion over the early part of this decade, harsh win­ters will have taken their toll on our small­est bird.

How­ever, it is be­lieved that most of the year we have more than 2,000 breed­ing pairs, mak­ing up 0.5 per cent of the UK pop­u­la­tion.

In win­ter a good place to spot gold­crests is among flocks of other smaller birds, like tits and spar­rows.

So they may even ap­pear in bushes close to bird ta­bles as food sources get a lit­tle scarce in win­ter. An amaz­ing fact about the gold­crest fe­male is that she can lay up to 12 eggs in a clutch – about one-and-a-half times her own body­weight. The gold­crest is olive green on top and buff be­low, with a dou­ble white wing­bar.

The male has a bright or­ange crown, edged with black.

The fe­male’s crown is yel­low. The crown I saw was or­ange, very clear as the bird got so close.

Spot­ting this hand­some lit­tle fel­low made me sigh with plea­sure. It was a de­light to see.

The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side is ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion and pro­mo­tion of the wildlife in Lan­cashire, seven bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester and four of Mersey­side, all ly­ing north of the River Mersey. It man­ages around 40 na­ture re­serves and 20 lo­cal na­ture re­serves cov­er­ing acres of wood­land, wet­land, up­land and meadow. The Trust has 27,000 mem­bers and more than 1,200 vol­un­teers. To be­come a mem­ber go to the web­site at www. lanc­swt.org.uk or call 01772 324129.

For more in­for­ma­tion about Cheshire Wildlife Trust call 01948 820728 or go to cheshire wildlifetrust.org.uk.

A bird ringer han­dles a tiny gold­crest

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