Category Archives: Great tits

At my dad's garden bird-feeder yesterday

Robin
Robin
Young blue tit
Young blue tit
Young blue tit
Young blue tit
Young great tit
Young great tit
Young great tit
Young great tit

Afternoon walk

I promised myself a late-afternoon walk yesterday, if I could get through the work I'd set myself. Once again, I headed off down Burlees Lane and and up through the wood.

There were a lot of young birds around, being attended to by their parents. I saw robins, great tits, blue tits and swallows. It's a great time of year for a walk in the countryside. Mind you, when isn't?

Swallow
Swallow
Young great tit
Young great tit
Red campion
Red campion
Hill House Wood
Hill House Wood
Lichen and moss
Lichen and moss

A kite for sore eyes

We spent last weekend at Bill's in Berkshire.

On Saturday morning, while I was playing fetch with Bill's dog, Skip, I heard a strange bird-call. I scoured the neighbouring copse with my binoculars for ten minutes before I tracked down the exotic creature: a great tit. Oh, well. Great spotted woodpeckers were drumming incessantly on tree-trunks and calling loudly, establishing their territories, but I only snatched a couple of glimpses of them as they flew through the trees.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Jen threw back the bedroom curtains, only to see a stag of some sort ambling across the field. Needless to say, I didn't see it.

A short while later, a red kite circled overhead, on the look-out for carrion. It was only then that it occurred to me that I should have had my camera ready, as you're practically guaranteed to see a red kite or two at Bill's.

Having learnt my lesson, I had my camera ready next morning, as I played ball with Skip once more. So, of course there was no sign of any red kites. Then, as we were packing, I glanced out of the window and saw three of them soaring together. In a blind panic, I fumbled my camera out of its bag, threw open the window, and managed to fire off a few shots before the kites disappeared.

Red kites

Red kite

Never, ever put your camera away! You should know that by now, Richard!

More a case of what I didn't see

I decided to visit the Dee Marshes at Parkgate and Burton on my way to visit Dad on Tuesday. As I arrived at Parkgate, I was frankly horrified to see around 40 middle-to-late-aged birders standing in the car park, gazing out across the marshes through a lot of seriously expensive optics.

Being an unsociable introvert (and somewhat embarrassed by my dinky sports binoculars), I gave them a wide berth and went to stand 50 or so yards away. They were looking at a very distant juvenile marsh harrier, which eventually flapped away across the reeds and rushes, tormented by the occasional brave crow. I would show you a photo, but it's just a smudgy dot.

Spoonbills and great white egrets have been spotted on the marshes recently. Either of those would be new species to me, but I saw neither hide nor feather of them. Actually, come to think of it, I have seen spoonbills before, in Australia, but I'm sure they must have been a different species from the ones we get up here.

Even though the harrier had gone, the birders stayed around, so I decided to sneak off into the bushes and try to get a photo of the robin I could hear singing its little heart out. Mum would have been proud of me: harriers, spoonbills and great white egrets just yards away, and here was I trying to spot a robin. I must have got within 20 feet of him, but I couldn't see him. What I was delighted to find in the undergrowth, though, was a pile of broken snail shells next to a stone: a song thrush's anvil:

Snail shells broken by song thrush

Eventually, I decided to pop down to Burton Marshes to see what was happening there. Not an awful lot, it turned out. To be fair, it was getting a bit late. I heard some sort of warbler in the reeds, and caught a fleeting glimpse of it, and there were lapwings and dunlin and a few other bits and bobs. Having failed miserably with the robin, I also had a go at tracking down a great tit in one of the hawthorns at the side of the road, again without success. Then I decided just to sit on one of the benches looking out across the marshes and take in the view. Which meant that I had my back turned when a buzzard flew very nearby across the field behind me and landed in a tree.

Buzzard

Buzzard

I will get the hang of this bird-watching malarkey eventually.

More photos »

Fledglings

We have a garden full of fledglings at the moment. Mainly blue tits and great tits, but also the odd greenfinch and hedge sparrow (or dunnock, as we're supposed to call them these days). They are creating one hell of a racket.

Fortunately for me (but potentially disastrously for them), some of the fledglings haven't quite got their heads around the concept of immediately flying away and hiding when something bigger than them appears. So I managed to get quite close to them with my camera:

Blue tit fledglings
Blue tit fledglings.

More cute baby bird photos | slideshow