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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Goldcrests Galore

In an earlier post I mentioned that there were more Jays around than usual this year due to an influx from the continent as a result of a poor season for acorns. As the season has progressed it has become apparent that other food sources are short on the continent, which means we can expect more vagrants to arrive over the next few weeks.

One species already arriving in good numbers are the tiny Goldcrests. It may seem amazing that they migrate across the North Sea to our milder shores but they do and I have been noticing them around our lanes regularly in the last few weeks. They are often heard before they are seen, with their very high pitch contact calls sounding a bit like a lisp. If you hear them, look out for a tiny bird moving almost mouse like through the trees. Perhaps because numbers are higher than usual they seem to be fighting off others to protect a food source once they find it. As a result they can often be seen chasing each other when they meet up! ( Of course they could be pairing up, but I suspect, with the cold weather approaching, they are more interested in feeding). This tiny bird has to eat its weight in food daily to survive cold periods and feeds constantly in the short winter daylight hours. The cold winters of 2009 and 2010 decimated the native population though they recovered well last spring.

This morning I saw a pair, along with a small family group of Long tailed tits, as they flew out of SSW and into a small tree in Stantway. They did not stay long enough for me to get any pictures of them, dashing off to the next feeding post up the hill.

 

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