Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Goldcrest acrobatics

One of the birds I find most tricky to photograph is the Goldcrest. It is not lack of opportunities. This tiny bird is often common and oblivious to human observers so it can be quite approachable. In addition, during the winter period the UK population increases with birds that migrate from the continent in search of milder climates. The problem is how energetic it is. Moving incessantly while feeding on tiny invertebrates - aphids, spiders, springtails - and their eggs in cracks on bare tree trunks and branches, or in between the needles of conifers, while constantly calling with high pitched 'see, see, see, see' notes. After a particularly frustrating photographic attempt I tried drawing the little bird (above).
 Today I searched for the first Goldcrest of the year on a front garden that has several large conifers (Norway spruce and Leilandii) and is a place where they likely breed. I heard their calls and spotted a bird high up on a bare tree, feeding upside down on the underside of a branch like unbothered by gravity. When the Goldcrest moved low on a conifer almost next to me I thought I would try a video, as I was pessimistic about my chances of success with taking a still photo. The bird obliged by performing their hovering flights at the tip of branches, and I was quite pleased with the result.


  1. Nice video and excellent drawing of one of my favourite birds :-) We are lucky to have a few breeding pairs in our garden but as you say they are a nightmare to photograph as they never keep still !

  2. Thank you David, they are small birds but full of personality, how lucky to have them on your garden.

  3. What a delight! I don't think I have seen them here, aren't they pretty? Your drawing is very good, well done!

    I was delighted to see a Bullfinch today, just the other side of my window.

  4. Thank you Toffeeapple. By far the best way of finding them is recognising their call. They seem to call constantly. Lucky you with the Bullfinch. Unfortunately my garden is small and urban. I get Blackbirds, Blue tits and a Robin if I'm lucky.