Spotting bird was pure gold
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