Tuesday, 17 May 2016
Saturday, 7 May 2016
All the birds called 'Tits' featured in this post are mainly woodland breeding species that I regularly encounter on my patch walks and with one exception are also regular garden feeder visitors plus two species have nested in the garden some years.
Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). A common breeding resident on my local patch and a regular daily visitor to the garden feeder also using one of the three nest boxes in most years. Unfortunately no evidence of nesting in a box so far this year. As a youngster I remember their antics of breaking through the milk bottle tops sitting on the doorstep and stealing the creamy top off the milk.
Coal Tit (Periparus ater). A resident mainly of coniferous or mixed woodland that often makes use of garden feeders during the winter months. It has a repetitive piercing call of 'situi' and 'tsevi' enabling the watcher to home in on its location within the woodland canopy. Excluding the Crested Tit, which is found in the northern Caledonian pine forests, it is our smallest Tit species.
Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris) whose name doesn't match its habitat of damper deciduous woods. I usually identify their presence by their call; a 'pitchoo' which sounds a bit like a sneeze but sightings are very infrequent hence the lack of suitable images to post here.
Often confused with the similar black capped but slightly larger Willow Tit which is now something of a rarity in Surrey with my last recorded sighting in 2008.
Great Tit (Parus major) uttering its repetitive 'teacher teacher' notes. Easily identified as it is the largest of our Tits and also well adapted to nesting in gardens. When visiting the feeders it will often fight off other, smaller tits to get to the food but the resident Robin will always boss them around!
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus). This one is not closely related to the other 'true' tits but a member of the small Aegithalidae (Bushtit) family. I always enjoy an encounter with these active and acrobatic feeders, often in a group, when they are hunting insects and spiders amongst the smaller branches while constantly chatting to one another. During the occasional hard winters we might a few visits to the garden feeders.