Country Corner


Helen from Roslin writes: “Seeing the nuthatch reminded me of a photo I took a couple of weeks ago. A goldcrest flew into our kitchen window and stunned itself. While it was recovering, I stood guard to protect it from the magpies which have a habit of removing small birds that are temporarily incapacitated.”

Callum from Inveresk writes: “I was walking along the Esk at Musselburgh and was delighted to spot a goldcrest having a bath in a small pool with fallen leaves. I believe it is Britain’s smallest bird and I had not seen one for years. I assume it was a male, however, I’m not sure whether the male and female have the ‘crest’.”

Here is Callum’s photo. I am guessing it is a female as the male’s crest tends to be more orange than yellow. Which answers Callum’s query as to whether both sexes have crests. They do and both are very similar.

As Helen says, goldcrests tend to be heard before they are seen. Their thin whispering will be heard, often from the crowns of conifers, as they busy themselves hunting for insect prey.

Sometimes in winter they are seen as part of a mixed flock of foraging woodlanders such as Blue, Great, Long Tailed, and Coal Tits, and perhaps a Treecreeper or two.

So now is the time time to listen for their whispering.