Young country diary: my first ever goldfinch, and it’s staring right at me
South-west London: I’ve never seen one before! I’m enthralled by its song and its beautiful colours
I’m on a walk with my mum – it’s way too early to be awake. The path is wet with morning dew. Flowers stand still in a breezeless field. Then, movement. A splash of colour – I squint. Over there, settling on a branch, a bird turns its head. Beady eyes look into mine as we regard each other. My mum powers on, oblivious. Is there a bird as bewitching as this? Its song is as gentle and enchanting as the soft bubble of a brook. I am enthralled by the beauty of the colours that decorate its small body. Beautifully adorned with an array of alluring yellows and crimsons.
I notice there are two, and tell my mum. She gasps, which only deepens my curiosity. “What is it?” I ask her, eyes flying between her astounded face and the rapid movement of the bird. “A goldfinch!” she exclaims, saying she hasn’t seen one since she was young. I now know that goldfinches grow to up to 12cm in length, and they are also known by a number of old names, including goldie, gold linnet, redcap and King Harry. One old name, thistle finch, reflects the bird’s favourite food.
When it was lockdown, nature started showing herself more, and I got a chance to discover the natural beauty of my local park. But I’m glad it’s over, because now I can enjoy it with the rest of the world.