Photographic Advent Calendar, Day 13: Firecrest

It is always a pleasant surprise to come across one of these superb little gems when out birding: the Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla) occurs predominantly in the east and south of the country during autumn passage, but can turn up almost anywhere. At this time of year, some of the best places in the country for finding them are in the south-west, where they winter in good numbers in counties such as Cornwall. Indeed, it has been amazing to see so many of these bright crests whilst out birding around Falmouth, with as many as five on campus alone! They make use of the milder winter temperatures in the southern counties, joining tit feeding flocks in their search for insects and other food sources underneath leaves and on branches in areas of woodland. There are around 550 breeding territories in the UK, the first breeding attempt being documented in Hampshire in 1962. Their scientific name translates roughly to ‘fire-capped prince‘, which I think is rather suiting…
These images were all taken on Bardsey Island over the winter of 2012-2013, when a single male bird overwintered and allowed me to get rather close on occasions! I hope you enjoyed my 13th advent blog post, and keep an eye out for tomorrow’s post!

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