Thursday, 2 April 2009

Getting to Grips With Tits.

The last twenty four hours I've been getting to grips with a fantastic pair of Tits. It just goes to show age is no barrier when your birding.
We took a family walk in Scotch Gill Woods yesterday late afternoon, the highlight was a singing Marsh Tit that serenaded us from an enormous Beech.
Today I cut short a trip to Newbiggin Golf Course due to the place being awash with golfers wandering all over the place. Anything that might have been around would have been booted left, right and centre so after six singing Skylark and a couple of Mipits and one Small Tortoiseshell on the Mound i moved on.
I left work early due to sea fret and thought I'd give Felton Lane another go for Willow Tit. It was quiet when I arrived, a Coal Tit fed high on one side and a Great Tit seemed to be tracking me on the other. After about ten minutes I caught sight of another paler Tit about twenty feet up in a birch, to be honest at first I wasn't sure, it didn't seem to have much of a pale wing panel, it wasn't calling and I'm not familiar enough with Felton Lane to know if both species occur. Two minutes later though joined by another and with better views I had my first Willow Tits for a long while. Helpfully they started calling with that great triple buzzy call as they crossed the road and moved off. Willow is my favourite tit, probably I think because they are the scarcest up here in Northumberland breeding at only a few scattered sites mainly in the South East of the county.

2 comments:

Stewart said...

Both species used to occur in similar densities at Felton Lane - Stobswood, but over the last 10 years Marsh Tits have dwindled to extinction. When Nigel and me lived in Stobswood we had a ringing station at Felton Lane and both were caught regularly. You know, I think, certainly along the coast, Willow is the commonest. I encounter then sporadically in the most unexpected of places while Marsh are always confined to mature woods, a very scarce habitat indeed in the county...

Alan Tilmouth said...

BiN lists Wiilow Tit as 2-3 breeding and Marsh at 3 but reports for both species came from c40 localities (2007 data). Sporadic records for Willow I can agree with I think I still have JGS and SMc gripped with a Newbiggin Willow Tit.