Fire! Fire!

What do you think about on dark winter nights. A nice warming fire? He’ll here it is in avian form – a Firecrest!

Seen and photographed at the weekend in a Tolsta Chaolais garden, there was no sign of it today (well, it was worth a try – and a couple of single Snow Buntings along the icy Pentland Road were nice). Perhaps the bird had got a whiff of the ensuing Arctic blast and had clear out. A wise move if so.

This close relative of the Goldcrest sports an extra couple of head stripes but maintains that ‘Regulus’ family dinky body. The ultimate waif? Records are increasing in Scotland, but that is perhaps more down to greater observer coverage than any change in status.

This is the first on Lewis and Harris for a number of years – 2002 in Uig being the last and that one stayed for nearly a fortnight. This year others have been seen on Barra and South Uist. Perhaps this these records all relate to one bird moving north up the island chain?

Whatever, thanks to Gill and Ken for flagging it up and sending through the photos. From now on I too will call it a ‘Flamecrest’. Could a name be more apt?

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