A rare garden sighting

After a morning on a chilly football training pitch I returned home and enjoyed a spot of kitchen window bird-watching while I warmed up. The feeders were popular, blue and great tits streaming across the gardens on an aerial corridor to our honeysuckle where we hang the nuts. A small flock of long-tailed tits joined them in the seed feast, their tapered tail feathers flicking like batons conducting the avian orchestra.
As I continued my watching, me eye was attracted to movement at the back of the garden. I grabbed camera and binoculars which confirmed my first thought – a treecreeper was working its up the bark of the ash tree.
It’s mottled brown markings across it’s back make it a difficult bird to spot when stationery, but the quick, jerky movement across the bark, usually upwards, with an occasional flash of its white chest and belly, make it unmistakable when you do see them. Quite likely a reasonably regular visitor to the garden, we have only seen them 3 times in ten years, making today’s visit a thrill.
A sparrowhawk also made a sweeping visit, diving into the honeysuckle in pursuit of the tits. It was successful too, pulling away with a small bundle in it’s talons to feed on it’s prey in a quiet spot. The feeders soon returned to business, the tit flock accepting the predation as a simple reality of existence and returned to their own, identical objective – daylight hours are short making collection of food to survive the cold winter nights a matter of urgency for all species.

2 Comments

  1. Nice. Rather like our Brown Creeper, same genus, also rare, but delightful to see rounding up a tree trunk with the long tail feathers pressed against the bark.

  2. Wow, yes, so very similar. Wikipedia describes the two european species (common and short-toed) that are virtually impossible to tell apart and suggests if a brown creeper crossed the Atlantic we'd never know, unless it turned up on a treeless, scottish island!

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