A Firecrest is guaranteed to brighten the most dismal of days and the dank, drizzly conditions of Tuesday, 23rd October was one such miserable day in an extended period of late autumn gloom. Happily for Mick Townsend of the Stanford Ringing Group, this cracking little sprite found its way into one of the SRG’s nets from which Mick extracted it before ringing it and taking the below photographs yesterday morning. This is the only Firecrest to have been found in Northants this year. In a standard year there are, on average, 1-2 records (13 in the last 10 years) with the highest likelihood of a chance encounter with one in January or November. The obviously spiky tips to the tail feathers suggest this is a first-year. Many thanks to Mick for his images.