The garden next to the bothy came up trumps again when Sue spotted a Goldcrest - Britain's smallest bird - up in one of the conifers. We have seen it before on Hilly Fields but not often. It loves conifer trees as its thin little beak is ideal for picking out insects from between pine needles. The Goldcrest gets its name from the bright orange patch on its crown, but it's very difficult to see that from below. We also saw the family flock of Long-tailed Tits again and Judith spotted a female Chaffinch - a bird we see (and hear) more often in spring and summer.
After failing to find any Sparrows in the Cliffview hedge, we thought we would have to settle for 15 species. However, after refreshments at the cafe, Sue and Judith spotted a pair of Mistle Thrushes and another Black-headed Gull (or possibly the same one as last month), raising our total to a respectable 17 species. Here is the full list of birds as recorded in our BirdTrack records.
Although the autumn remains mild on the whole, the leaves are falling fast on Hilly Fields, helped by Storm Barney, the tail-end of which was still blowing as we went round. This will help to make the smaller birds more visible in the winter months to come. And by the way, the Friends of Hilly Fields Big Birdwatch 2016 event will take place on the morning of Sunday 31 January. There will be guided walks and children's activities, as well as an RSPB stall. More info soon.
|Foliage thinning in the little wood.|