Monday, April 30, 2018

What is Rare?

A few more spring migrants have appeared at the Stewchat Obs this week with a male Yellow Wagtail low over the garden last Monday, my second Lesser Whitethroat on site this spring, and a male Blackcap at our feeders.

Barn Owl sunset, taken from our drive.

Other noteworthy mini patch sightings include, a Barn Owl from the kitchen window on several occasions, regular visits by a pair of Sparrowhawks but best of all was a real rarity. For here. Nowadays.

We moved here in 2009. At this time, the once extensive population of Marsh Tits on the estate were on the decline, as they are in most places now. Sightings were irregular, but I soon added it to the garden list with a bird on our peanut feeder sometime in spring 09. This was to be very short lived because the last of the Howick Marsh Tits was a juvenile bird I photographed in July 2010. Since then there has been no sight or sound, despite daily meanderings in suitable places and even a constant effort ringing site with feeders on the estate has not had one. They are defunct. Gone. Extinct.

Until Friday morning.

I was out in sunny weather early doors, topping up the feeders, when I threw two handfuls of seed onto the bird table. Immediately as small buff and black apparition alighted on the edge of the table not 6 feet from me.

I froze. It froze, Then grabbed a sunflower seed and flew off!

I knew immediately that it was Marsh not Willow when its glossy cap shone in the early sunshine.

I dashed indoors for the camera to record this momentous rediscovery on site. For a while there was a no show with the bird flying off across the back field. I gave up and came inside to wait by the kitchen window.

After about 10 minutes, there it was, back on the table! Pity the local Jackdaws and Starlings caused so much of a racket that it didn't stay for long, but I did manage one record for posterity...

Marsh Tit in the garden. Rarer here than both Barred and Yellow browed Warblers...


Gibster said...

There used to be a healthy population of Marsh Tits on my old patch in Surrey (plus a pair or so of Willows). The Willows were soon but a fading memory but the Marsh clung on for several more years before they too disappeared. Four years of blankness, not a sneeze to be heard. Then, completely out of the blue, a sneeze! Followed by a bird! Then, a month later, two birds! I was stunned, by the time I quit Surrey I reckon there had been a return of at least three birds to my patch. As you've just proven, never give up hope of these birds surviving at very low levels. Glad for you, buddy, I really am.

Stewart said...

Cheers Seth I'll listen out for the pitchoo... :)