With me, its the Firecrest. Ever since eagle-eyed patch birder David Campbell (click here for his blog, and here for his patch blog) found a wintering population along a small wooded path on his local golf course down in Banstead back in 2008, they have been back to the same spot every year since- as have I to see them, and year upon year, I've failed miserably. David would shrug it off at the time as bad luck, but oh no, this was something deeper. This was something personal between myself, and a vaseline tin- sized bird that was trying its utmost to stay off my radar.
And so the winter of 2012/13 descended, and as expected, the
It was freezing on arrival, but there was still a lot of bird action going on. A flock of Long-tailed tit were slowly making their way down the path, and I stopped momentary to enjoy their acrobatics as they moved overhead with a very bright looking, funny crested, shorter tailed Long-tailed tit following behind- wait a minute- that's no Long-tailed tit, that's a... a... Goldcrest. So close.
A further 20 minutes of staring at bushes followed, before a sudden burst of squeaking from a holly bush deep within the shrubs grabbed my attention. It sounded like a Goldcrest, only louder, and much more insistent. After another lengthy period of time, a strong white eye stripe and flash of vibrant yellow finally came into view to clinch my first Firecrest... gotcha! As is compulsory, I fired off a few dozen shots, before realising that the camera was set to 'manual' mode, and every image had come out horribly over-exposed. Shiiaattt! A flick of the dial later and a miracle happened- the bird stopped and perched on one of the most well lit branches along the whole path, and this time I was ready for it.