Charms of goldfinches

When I was at junior school part of our learning came from a small blue paperback book full of what would now be called trivia.  There were collective nouns for just about every British species of bird and mammal you can think of.  Now I can only remember a few of them, but one that has always stuck in my mind has been ‘a charm of goldfinches’.  We were working over in the Beacons a few  days ago and came across a large flock of birds feeding on larch cones.  The majority of the flock was indeed a charm of goldfinches.

Mature larch plantation

Yesterday we were in Wentwood, not far from Chepstow. There are some excellent stands of mature larch here and once again many birds feeding on the cones.  Dominating the species were goldfinches again, and although counting birds in these circumstances is difficult, there had to be at least a hundred goldfinches there, not so much a charm as a whole jewellery shop.  I didn’t have my wildlife cameraman hat on so getting any footage was out of the question, but we spent some time scanning the branches for species other than goldfinch.  You’re quite likely to spot chaffinch, redpoll, siskin, members of the tit family and even crossbill and brambling.