Tuesday, 8 April 2008

An Avian Gem

I have often thought that if the Firecrest were a rarity instead of a scarce breeder and thinly distributed migrant it would be at the top of the wanted list for most people each year. About the same length, but a bit bulkier than a Goldcrest, it is marginally shorter than a Wren, but weighs only about 5.5 to 5.8 grammes compared to the Wrens obese 9 grammes. That's about 170 to a packet of sugar.
This one was using a group of bushes along the cliff top for its temporary home. Working from one end to the other and then returning to the start. I was put on to it this morning by Phil and Jack Chantler.
I did get a few pictures but found it extremely difficult as it moved incessantly between the twigs, collecting small items of food. Much of the time its movement was accompanied by a short high pitched zeep call, normally uttered singly.

This afternoon after a suitable period of rest and a couple of cups of tea, I returned and found the bird in the same place. The pattern of movement was well established and I waited for it to reappear in the various gaps, trying to get in the right place for the sun.

Stunning though this bird is, being a female it is slightly less bright than the male, with a more yellow, less orange crown.

The white supercilium edged black above and below distinguish it from the plainer faced Goldcrest. In addition the bright greenish-yellow patch on the side of the neck and the brighter white underparts are more striking than the grey and buff equivalents in its close relative. You canfind more pictures of both here.


Benjamin Young said...

Fab photos! And I thought mine were good. The four birds I was photographing kept dashing for cover in the woods.

Kingsdowner said...

That last photo is a real cracker!

Simon said...

Brilliant photos of the Firecrest.

Warren Baker said...

Ditto: the Firecrest phot's!!

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