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The British Birding Year

The British Birding Year

A diary of written sketches celebrating the avian and natural spectacle of Britain. The birdwatcher travels the length of the country to record birds in flux. The weather changes too and a long-term trend emerges, also affecting the lives of birds.

Plus a checklist ordered by Britain’s most common birds and our migrants’ early/late dates.

January 20th, 2011

Amazing that it took a year in Portishead to see a goldcrest at the Port Marine development but one flitted through saplings at the end of Phoenix Way this morning. It was close enough to show its golden crown stripe without binoculars. What a gorgeous bird. And our smallest, despite the incorrect answer of wren to the original Trivial Pursuit question. Did they ever fix that?

Under the IOC (International Ornithological Congress) taxonomy, goldcrest precedes the wren family and follows the Australian white-eyes. This is no surprise for those who have seen all three. Yet this little bird’s flash of colour sets it magically apart. Perhaps magic is how it survives our winter, especially the weather we had this time through December.

Also new yesterday was a pochard in Bristol’s Floating Harbour, probably two: from the bus I couldn’t establish the identity of the bird with it. I also later had singing blackbirds and song thrushes. Clearly spring comes early in the big city. Actually a song thrush was in full cry through nearby Eastwood this afternoon, as well as many great tits.

Will they all get a shock in the next few weeks? Enter shop for price or check the eBook. It’s on Kindle too.