I've seen a few Penduline Tits in Spain and they've been easy to catch up with, however records in the UK have been a little different. Many are elusive, a one (or two) day bird or even after the initial report; fly off high and are never seen again. However, in recent time they have become an increasingly more familiar sight on the birds news services. Many reports have mainly come from the Kent area, whereas others have been dotted around the south coast. An interesting report from Lancashire back in 2011 where a Penduline Tit was trapped and ringed in the November. It was even more surprising when it was re-sighted in the following February and April, 2012.
Back to these birds... they've been around since 5th December last year and due to reputation and other birding priorities, I haven't had too much chance to travel down for them until this weekend. We were due another twitch (as March can drag birding-wise) so myself and Steff made our way down on the back of 3 week's worth of reports of these birds coming from the same location: the little pond at Dart's Farm RSPB.
After a set back and diversions all occurring within 10 minutes to the destination, we finally arrived. To our surprise, the two Penduline Tits were showing, and showing well a matter of feet in front of us! Before I could get over the realisation that they were actually present, they did what they do best (when they want out) and took to the skies (and high!). With the pressure off, we both decided we wanted more views so decided to wait until they returned. A few birdtracks later and a doze in the warm sun, they were back!
The birds showed incredibly well in front of us for at least 90 minutes giving us opportunities for a few pictures although with the ever-increasing strength in the wind and the quick flitting from reed-to-reed and branch-to-branch, I found it difficult to get a definite shot in!
Both sexes are very similar with subtle differences but both feature a black mask over the eyes, grey head, brown-rufous back and buff-coloured under parts.
After spending the majority of time in the blossom tree adjacent to the small pond, they came down to the reedbed and bed from the bulrushes giving more fantastic views.
Although the birds showed for well over 90 minutes, they have lived up to their reputation during their stay commuting between the small pond on the RSPB reserve, Exminister Marshes and Bowling Green Marsh RSPB all within close proximity of each other.
|Penduline Tit extracting the seeds from the bulrush|
Here's a couple of videos taken from the visit to Dart's Farm RSPB
Since arrival there has been three birds present up until just over a week ago so who knows where the third has gone and who knows where these birds will go next? Will they stick around or head off from it's wintering ground?