|A freshly-arrived Goldcrest in a coastal hedgerow here in Filey in late October. An active, healthy bird having made it to optimal feeding habitat after enduring the dangers of a sea crossing. Others are not so lucky....|
They had to feature at some point, and it may as well be now, with these disconcertingly warm February days triggering their wheezily tinkling songs from local evergreens... as well as being anthropomorphically just as about as cute as a micro-dinosaur can get, Goldcrests are also arch exponents of the consistently mind-blowing miracle that is bird migration - the full spectrum of which is covered in the next few photos.
While they're a common breeder the UK and we've a few scattered breeding pairs nearby, all the birds pictured here - like the overwhelming majority of Goldcrests that occur at Filey and other coastal watchpoints - are, incredibly, migrants, fresh in from perilous journeys over the North Sea. Incredibly, as in, they're barely any longer than your forefinger and the weight of a 20p coin, and yet they routinely make these journeys, sometimes in their hundreds of thousands, every autumn - and in fall conditions, they can be so numerous as to turn clifftop grasslands into a carpet of tiny mouselike movements foraging at your feet.
Sadly, not all of them make it, of course (see photo captions); but enough do for it to be a successful migration strategy and a phenomenon which leaves me dumbstruck and open-mouthed with wonder every autumn.
|Same species, same place, same time of year - a few metres further up onto the clifftop, where this bedraggled but successful migrant was hopping around in the weeds with hundreds upon hundreds of its brethren - every one a tiny miracle.|