Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 20/01/2011

Do Not Adjust Your Set…

After much waiting I’ve finally managed to get a half decent photo of, arguably, one of England’s prettiest and daintiest birds, the Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus). A diminutive bird, smaller than the Blue Tit to which it is related, there are roughly 270,000 breeding pairs in the UK. Whilst this does seem like an abundant number, it pales in comparison to the number of Blue Tits with an estimated 3.5million breeding pairs in the UK, rising in excess of 15 million during the winter months.

A bit like a number 3 bus, it’s been a long wait to see a long tailed tit on the feeder and when I finally did, there were around a dozen birds turn up (okay not quite like a number 3 bus then) in what looked like a feeding frenzy. Constantly on the move, these hyperactive feathered typhoons were quite a challenge to photograph, especially in the abysmal lighting conditions we’ve had recently. This one bird seemed to take pity on me or was intrigued by my presence and stopped for a millisecond to inspect what was going on allowing me to fire off a volley of shots of which two were any good. I doubt they’ll be back to the feeders (especially after that volley) when the weather improves, but I can but hope.

The highlight of the week was a new species to the garden, let alone the feeders, a male Blackcap. Unfortunately the bird’s presence came as such a suprise, that I was caught unprepared only managing two photographs both of which were blurred though still good enough to confirm the birds identity. Still, after 5 years recording birds visiting the garden, it’s nice to have new visitors and which also means that I might well be able to tempt them back to pose for me. Here’s hoping.


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