I don’t consider myself a twitcher – by which I mean one of those obsessives who cares only about adding ticks to lists and accumulating huge numbers of bird sightings and will travel long distances at word of a sighting to get them – but I have set myself a personal challenge of seeing 200 species of birds in Britain in 2018 if at all possible. So, when a relatively scarce bird happens to be seen in a Cardiff park, and that park is a favourite place of mine for a walk, then, of course, I’m going to go for a look.
The bird is a Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), cousin to the Goldcrest I blogged about a couple of days ago, only ever so slightly bigger and an equally elusive little bush flitter that is currently enjoying the bushes alongside the River Taff in Bute Park. It was first sighted by a local birder, further up the Taff, on 4 January, and I did go looking then. I couldn’t find in that day – but I did enjoy a delightful walk along the riverside trail.
Then, on 11 January, the bird – presumably the same one, as they are not very common hereabouts – was spotted further down the river, almost in the heart of Cardiff, by a local RSPB staffer out for a lunchtime run. On Thursday I went for a look and was really lucky to meet two other birders who already had the bird in their sights (when I passed by again later, on my way to the train after a long walk in the park, the bird had temporarily disappeared so I was really glad I’d seen it earlier). Typically, this little Firecrest wasn’t still for an instant and the bushes it favoured meant the light was not great for photographs but it was a real treat to see and to watch its insect-catching antics.