Saturday, 14 March 2009

Goldcrests and hedge trimming

Next week Glendale aim to trim the hedge that borders the gardens on the north-east (Cliffview Road) side of the park, so I had a good look at the birdlife in the hedge today on my way to the Farmers' Market and the Ladywell Assembly.

Flitting from branch to branch today were about 16 House Sparrows, a solitary male Blackbird and a pair of restless Goldcrests. I've received a few reports of Goldcrests in the neighbourhood but this is the first time I've spotted any in Hilly Fields over the last couple of years. The BirdTrack site has none at all reported for Hilly Fields (or map reference TQ3775) since their records began in 2005.

This is a stock photo of a Goldcrest, not mine.

Often described as a snooker ball with legs, they're the smallest British bird and suprisingly common as there's probably 5M pairs around in the winter months, reducing to 1.5M pairs in the summer.

Very slightly larger and much much rarer at 400 pairs is the Firecrest, similar but with a bold white eyebrow.

The park was quite busy, so few other birds were around except 10 Woodpigeons and a pair of Magpies in the meadow.


3pm Friday 20th March

Sorry to say the hedge hasn't been trimmed yet, let's hope that late trimming doesn't disturb the all-too-rare House Sparrows.


  1. I've not seen the goldcrests recently, but was very pleased to finally catch sight of a pair of redwings, up by the fallen log at the side of Prendergasts. I rarely see anything more than a blackbird in this area, but it was full of birdlife on the 17th as we came back from school. This included a male chaffinch,a pair of blackbirds, great tits and magpies, then one noisy paraqueet.

  2. It's good to know the Redwing are still around, I couldn't find them on either of my last two visits to the park.

  3. I was chasing Glendale today about the hedge trimming, we requested it to be done before autumn! Do you think it is too late?

    They are supposed to be cutting down some of self seeded sycamores and ash, at least to 1.8m, but still no sign! They haven't been touched for over 8 years, probably more.

  4. It may be too late now. I'm not certain but I think hedge trimming this late could disrupt the local birdlife.

  5. I note, our park keeper, Keith has stepped in and done a good job of trimming hedge just in time. No sign of the self seed sycamores being cut back or taken out. There are no birds likely to nest in them or around them, so it could still be safely undertaken.