Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nuts for Nuthatches

Some kind person (or people?) has been feeding the birds in Bluebell Wood for some time now. But it didn't occur to either Mike or me until yesterday that it could be a great place for digiscoping. We spent ten minutes there yesterday lunchtime watching Nuthatches, tits and Chaffinches going to and fro, and vowed to return today - armed with full digiscoping regalia AND some tasty treats.

Blue Tit

As the food was scattered around the 'birdtable', Robins popped up in every bush and Blue Tits gathered overhead to see what was going on. The Robins were extremely tame. They know people love them and they're not afraid to inspect you closely. Several times I heard a phrase of song and looked round to see a Robin virtually perching on my shoulder.

It was Mike's idea to wedge peanuts into the crevices of the tree stump, but unfortunately the Nuthatches weren't really interested in those when they could just grab billfuls of sunflower hearts and fly off to eat them at leisure.

Great Tits found the nuts instead.

Several of the birds (including this Great Tit) had been ringed - more than likely at Ferry Meadows (the ringing site is about 500m away) and perhaps even by me! There were a couple of ringed Long-tails as well. These species are very sedentary, but not as much as the Nuthatch - I've only ever seen one on the nature reserve once!

Male Chaffinch

Long-tailed Tit

I've loved Nuthatches ever since I saw my first ones back in 1990 (I was ten at the time), at Forge Valley Woods in North Yorkshire. Since then I've seen Rock and Kr├╝per's Nuthatches on Lesbos, but there's nothing quite like a cheeky, orangey Eurasian Nuthatch to warm the heart.

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995 + Leica Apo Televid 62 with 16x eyepiece

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