Fool’s Gold


What do you think of this? It isn’t distinct enough to be sure, but I think it is a Goldfinch. That would be nice, we haven’t seen one around for ages.

The Dog and I came out of the drive the other day and turned right, right into a flock of small birds filling the hedge and bushes along the road. I’m not always wide awake when we set off, sometimes it needs a couple of hundred yards of bracing Cumbrian air before I start to pay attention. Still, I struggled the camera out of my jacket and started to take pictures. Small birds don’t hang around, you know. I don’t think I frightened them particularly. Our small birds seem happy to be ignored from three or four yards away, and even when they leave, they leave in a way that suggests that they were going anyway. I took quite a few photos before they dissipated, unfortunately, because of the bright background, most of them are identifiable only as small brown birds.

Not only are Goldfinches striking to look at but they have a sweet trilling song – this makes them attractive as cage birds. And cage birds are taken off round the world by their owners. Then, it becomes tiresome to take care of them and, even though you are now on the other side of the planet in New Zealand or Australia, the easiest solution to your problems is to just open the cage door and walk away.

These released Goldfinches are, as we speak, busy colonising the antipodes. I hope they’ve got a work visa.

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