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I was trudging round the village in the dank murk this afternoon, looking for something interesting to photograph, when a tiny bird flew out of the hedgerow a few metres in front of me, and landed in a tree. It was so small, and the light was so bad, that I couldn’t see it very well, and I’d never seen anything quite like it in the flesh before; but I had seen photos of goldcrests, and my instinct (largely because of the size and shape) was that this was what I was looking at. Good as it is, the BZ struggled to focus on something so tiny – and moving so quickly – in such poor light, so this shot isn’t going to win any awards; but I’m so chuffed to have added a new bird to my lifetime list (and just a ten-minute walk from the house we’ve lived in for the best part of twenty years), that it has to be my blip today.

If you’ve never seen a goldcrest, you might think that I’m talking up how small they are – but this is Britain’s smallest bird, smaller even than the wren and weighing only about 6g (that’s about the same as a five-pence piece). Within moments I went from being delighted to have found one, to concerned about how the tiny thing could be keeping itself fed and warm through a Shire winter – but when I got home and uploaded my files, I realised that it was feasting on a cloud of tiny flies that I hadn’t even been able to see out in the field. If you’re interested, I’ve put the best of my not-award-winning photos here.