During all that rain, Ian spotted a goldcrest by the wooden footbridge into Village Green. Goldcrests are Britain’s smallest bird; a tiny flash of yellow against the dark green of a pine tree.

Despite their tiny size, goldcrests are highly migratory, with a large influx of birds from Scandinavia arriving on the east coast of Britain every autumn. They arrive from late August through to early November, and leave the following March and April. Here, in the reserve, March or April is when we usually see them, probably migrants on their way back to their breeding grounds in northern Europe.

Goldcrests do nest in Britain and those that do are sedentary, seldom moving far from where they are hatched. Every year we hope that a pair of goldcrests will decide to stay and look for a nest site in the reserve. Their nest would be a spherical cup made of lichens, cobwebs, moss and hair, usually suspended in twigs near the end of a conifer branch high in the tree.

Typically the female will lay a clutch of 9 -11 eggs; most pairs try to rear two overlapping broods each spring, with the female starting the second clutch in a new nest before her first brood have fledged. The male assumes responsibly for feeding the first brood as soon as his mate starts to incubate the second clutch of eggs.

Keep an eye out for goldcrests in our copses and, please, tell us if you see one.

UK conservation status: Green, population decreasing. Protected by the Wildlife Act 1981

Photographs: header picture by Gail Hampshire (CC2.0)

5 thoughts on “Goldcrest

  1. There are goldcrests in the reserve all year. I often see and hear them in the fir trees on the top edge of Lambrok Meadow. They love all the wooded areas and back around September time I watched about a dozen of them flitting from branch to branch in the woods between Lambrok Meadow and Kestrel Field. I wouldn’t be surprised if they already nest in the reserve.
    Their call, although relatively quiet is quite easy to identify. It’s very high pitched, which does mean some people can’t hear it it.

  2. While the Goldcrest population is increased in the winter according to the RSPB there are around 610000 breeding pairs resident in the UK ,and as they are regularly seen in and around Trowbridge there is no reason why they would not nest in the County Park.

    1. I hope you are right. Because we had only seen them in January and February, we had assumed they were part of the population that leaves to breed in northern Europe.
      Simon Knight, our photographer, has said that he has seen them in the reserve all year round. Now we need to find a nest.

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