Bearded Tits - Leighton Moss ... 10/12 Nov

December 05, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

With Pauline already up at the caravan and the weather forecasters saying we should have a couple of sunny days I thought it would be worth going up and trying for the Bearded Tits. At this time of year they come to special little tables with grit, which is needed to help digestion during the transition from feeding on insects to feeding on seed. It is usually well after 9.00am before the first birds visit and the sun doesn’t hit the grit tables until after 8.10am but I knew it would be very busy being the weekend so I was there for 7.30am. I was soon joined by another ‘tog’ who had just been watching an otter at some distance from the lower hide but I wasn’t going to leave and risk loosing the position where I had set up the tripod!

The tables are located a short walk down the public causeway in an area that has been cleared of reeds and a fence keeps everyone on the track – the problem being the opening on to the track is only about 10 meters so if you want an uninterrupted view you do need to be on the front row. It was a cold morning but by 10.00am there was quite a crowd all waiting for bird’s arrival. We first heard them calling on their approach at about 10.15am but it was another half hour before they finally worked their way through the reeds and onto the trays. By now there must have been about 40 photographers and birders - even with the machine-gun-like firing of shutters and people telling others where to look, the birds visited the tables for 30 minutes with rarely a bird not either on a table or just in the reeds. After taking a few shots of them on the table the picture we really want is of them in the reeds – preferably at the front so there is nothing in front of their faces – easier said than done.

The birds eventually left and a lot of people moved on but thinking the hides would be full to bursting I stood for another hour and a half but no birds returned. As the sun moves round it becomes less favorable for pics so I decided to call it done and head back to our van for a brew and to look at images on the back of the camera. It is so frustrating how many images get deleted due to some thing in front of a subject or it is not quite sharp (or totally blurred!) three cheers for digital! Monday was poor weather wise but Tuesday was promised to be another bright day, so I was back there at 8.10am and with just two other ‘togs’ there I stood in exactly the same spot. At 9.45am without any warning the B.Tits appeared and stayed for about 20 minutes. It’s hard to tell how many birds came while looking almost continually through the camera. With at least 8 birds in sight and a few still in the reeds, while some visited the table it was a bit easier to get shots. After dinner I returned and sat in the public hide for an hour and was rewarded with good views of two Marsh Harriers before heading back on to the road over looking a large area of reeds where the starlings gave us a brief display before dropping in to roost.


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