Friday, 5 February 2010

Stevenage Firecrest

A Firecrest has been present for several days in Pryors Wood. It has been very elusive at times and some have had to make more than one visit to connect.
I had to be at home Tuesday, awaiting a large delivery and hoped to visit, but by the time it arrived it was getting dark. Could have spent the day at work, or popped out in the morning.
Anyway, as work finishes Friday lunchtime, and with it being a nice sunny day I thought I'd have a wander round. This used to be an old haunt back in the 80's but I stopped going as large housing estates were being built on the farm land adjacent, and my favourite blackberry bushes are now a main road.
Still it was a pleasant surprise to see the wood had not suffered greatly, and I soon encountered a pair of Marsh Tit, and Treecreepers and Nuthatches were everywhere. As Great Tits, Blue Tits and Coal Tits were singing it felt like spring in the sunshine.
The Firecrest was very elusive in the large stands of Holly and despite the constant presence of Long Tailed Tits I failed to locate it. However, after about half an hour, my attention was drawn to a small bare bush about twenty yards away and I realised that a very active and vocal Firecrest was showing quite well. I approached, and despite some camera trouble managed to obtain many images of dead leaves and in three of them a partially obscured Firecrest.
I was joined by an old friend John who is also a long time Stevenage birder and we reminisced about how the wood used to be (Hawfinch, Tree Pipit and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers used to breed, as did Willow Tit-all county rarities now).
Unfortunately, the Firecrest failed to show over the following hour, so left. As I was approaching the car, a Muntjac crossed the main road.

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