On our way out of the house today – allotment events committee meeting (seed swap and Gardeners World Live trips to organise) – but, for some unknown reason glanced at the bird feeders. We have had unusual visitors this year, almost certainly due to harsh weather conditions, but I was surprised to see a pair of goldcrests there, tucking into the fat/insect mixture in the half coconuts.

Took me back to a fierce argument I had with Peter in penultimate primary school year (I was nine years old!) about which was Britain’s smallest bird. Me? I reckoned the wren, and we both found books to compare. He was right, I was not annoyed: it was the way we added to our knowledge. About plants, animals, paths to walk, where to find the brightest, feistiest sticklebacks, the hardest conkers (and how to prepare them to become champions), the trickiest trees to climb, where to find frogs – or more exotically the tiny dragons that were called newts and, in this season, their spawn. In short we taught each other so much about  each other and about ourselves. We carried out risk assessments even before the phrase had been dreamed up by politicians, because that was, that is what life is about: taking responsibility for your own actions … always done better in the  light of experience. That’s what we were getting, of course, first-hand experience. Building rafts  and timber and riding them on building site puddles; making soap box trolleys, throwing ropes made from binder twine into branches overhanging streams and swinging out, over and across to the other bank – or failing and laughing it off.
Indeed, as will happen no sooner had I found out about these beautiful birds, than I discovered a goldcrest nest. To date it retains the neatest-nest-ever award. It was built in the underneath of end-of-branch foliage in a European larch at the edge of the game-cover wood opposite our house.  At the end of a branch to protect it from predators, where we lived magpies and grey squirrels. But a typically beautiful and structured piece of engineering.
The discussion we had about goldcrests lead me to believe they were rare birds and so I though  when these two appeared on our bird table. Until I looked at the RSPB website. It seems they are both widespread and common. Look out for them, especially if you are near conifer woods.
But, if for whatever reason I had not glanced out of the back bedroom window, we would have missed this sighting; the pair did not stay long, certainly less than five minutes. I felt truly blessed.


Photo source:


3 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a goldcrest. What a treat for you!


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