RICHARD WILLIAMSON: Firecrest helps brighten winter landscape

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Both firecrests and goldcrests are found in the county and this week’s walk, starting in Venus Wood, is one of the best places with abundant fir trees, their main habitat.

The picture is of a firecrest but there is very little difference between the two species.

So what you have to look for is the strong white supercilium and black eyestripe below it. Also the firecrest is much more orange on its crown (goldcrest is gold). Difficult? Even more so with both species high up in the canopy of dark trees.

But be patient – both are what birders call ‘confiding’. That is, sometimes quite tame.

I have had them perch on my foot when on my lunch break when working in the woods, and a firecrest nested in our garden a few feet from the path and took little notice of us.

Oh yes – it is the smallest British bird, about the size of a hummingbird and very lively as it busies itself looking for seeds: a perfect Christmas tree hanging.