Excitement in Boro Garden

Today started off as usual after a cold night, around freezing, with an overcast sky and little wind. There were birds about in the garden and the bird table had been topped up with seed. There were a few more birds than usual actually, – blue tits, great tits. a robin, chaffinch, greenfinchs. The blackbirds were chasing each other around in and out of bushes up and over the fence and back again. The mating season appears to have begun. The wood pigeons and a squirrel were doing their best to consume everything in reach.

Then after lunch, while casually looking out of the window, I caught a glimpse of some small bird darting about in the apple tree, but with the blue and great tits flitting about as well I lost track of the newcomer for a moment. Then I spotted it on the trunk of the apple tree pecking at the bark and it was tiny! I thought what is that? The size struck me most, it was about the size of a wren, but I was sure it wasn’t that. The colour was wrong; there was a faint green tinge to the back and it had a white and a black mark on the wings.

I managed to get hold of my camera and point it in the direction of the bird, but had an awful job trying to get it in the frame. I was using a high zoom as the tree is half way down the garden and the bird wouldn’t stay still. It worked up and round the trunk of the tree and up and down all the major branches pecking at the bark. In addition, it’s colouring was perfect camouflage on the bark of the tree trunk and it really was tiny.

Goldcrest

Can you see it?

Of all the shots I took only these three were not completely blurred. After a pass along the top of the fence and a rummage in the ivy at the bottom of the garden, it was gone.

On checking the camera and zooming the image I found one shot that showed a yellow patch on the head, you can just see it above. I had no idea what the bird was and couldn’t find anything in my little bird book.

So, turning to the internet I searched images and finally, there it was! No doubt, that was the bird I had seen. Such excitement, a new species for Boro garden, a bird I had never seen before anywhere, let alone in my garden.

It was a Goldcrest, smaller than the Wren and Europe’s smallest bird.

The general appearance of a Goldcrest is that of a dull olive-green bird with pale whitish underparts and a conspicuous gold stripe on its crown. On closer inspection, there are two whitish wing bars and a dark mark on the wings. The black-bordered crest stripe is orange in the male and yellow in the female. The dark eye is easily seen against its whitish face. The thin bill is black and the legs are brown. (Courtesy of British Garden Birds.co.uk)

Wow, I am having a good year – greater spotted woodpecker then a jay and now a goldcrest. I have had the smallest bird in Europe in my garden.

Strangely, the next bird I saw was a wren, darting about in one of the garden planters. Another tiny bird.

I am sorry for the quality of the photos, but I had to show that the bird was there. I am persevering πŸ™‚

That’s it for now. Hope you enjoy.

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9 thoughts on “Excitement in Boro Garden

  1. Congratulations on the goldcrest! It looks very much like the species of bird here that we call the golden-crowned kinglet. Those small, quick-moving birds are a challenge to get good photos of them, you’ve done well!

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    • Thank you indeed. The English RSPB describes the goldcrest as – “a very small passerine bird in the kinglet family. Its colourful golden crest feathers gives rise to its English and scientific names, and possibly to it being called the “king of the birds” in European folklore.” So we are talking about the same bird.

      As an aside, I think I have cracked a vexing problem with using my camera today. I have just realised that using a high zoom to get close to the subject cuts the available aperture and therefore reduces the available shutter speed. Hence any movement by the subject resulted in blur and presumably that’s why most of my pictures of that little bird were useless. So I have some experimenting to do and hopefully can produce some sharper photos.

      Thanks for your encouragement.

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  2. Yey, you got a goldcrest πŸ™‚ Well done for getting photos, I know how hard that is as we were lucky enough to have one for a few days a little while back. They’re so cute! Great post, thanks for sharing.

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