70 pairs of Firecrest in Berkshire  

The population of Firecrest has increased significantly in the UK in recent decades. One area in the county, referred to as its "East Berks breeding grounds" in county reports, now holds a population of c70 pairs (the UK breeding population being 20-100). According to "The Birds of Berkshire" a favoured habitat is Norway spruce and there are stands of spruce, fir and hemlock throughout the south-eastern forests. The Tetrad survey ('87-'89) recorded birds in c17 tetrads in this area

A survey of Swinley forest in 1999 recorded 7-8 pairs or singing males at 5 sites. Only a few years later, in an only slightly larger area, seventy territories were reported. Confirmation of breeding must be difficult but from the growth in numbers it must be assumed that there are more breeders than the four mentioned in the report

These photos, of seven birds at six locations within the same general area, were all taken from public footpaths with disturbance from joggers, cyclists (& motorbikes), raucous children and packs of out-of-control dogs.

If you want to try for this delightful kinglet bear in mind: they are not early risers ... and learn the call


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