Andy P and I arrived at Moore at first light yesterday, full of hope for a day of Willow Tits, Woodpeckers, and White-winged Gulls. Four hours later, despite a few GSW, and even with the knowledge that if we could get round to oversee Richmond Bank we’d find a lot of good gulls including Caspian, Glaucous and Yellow-legged awaiting us, we changed tack and headed for Pennington Flash. Willow Tit was rapidly becoming this year’s bogey bird and if there’s one place it’s a cert …
And sure enough the Bunting Hide at Pennington, where the feeding station is almost within touching distance, turned up trumps, with an apparent Willow Tit amongst more than a dozen Bullfinches and a pair of Stock Doves coming to feeders. It was too close to digiscope! I watched it for a long time, though: flighty, but very close to. Andy got some pics (see below) but with the ‘scope set up I just managed to frame the Bullfinches and a Reed Bunting on a table further away.
It was later as we walked round the rest of the site that doubt about the Willow Tit crept in, as we both heard the clear and seemingly unmistakeable call of a Marsh Tit. We didn’t manage to get sight of the bird, but the call was distinct and prolonged. Had we mis-identified the Willow Tit? Did we mis-hear the Marsh Tit?
I went back through it in my head for hours afterwards, but I’m sure we didn’t: I’d been paying particular attention to the bib, the matt black crown, and the hue of the light underbelly … And later on, with the benefit of Andy’s photos, there’s no doubt about the Willow Tit.
So Willow Tit and a possible Marsh Tit made it a good day, after all. Moore will undoubtedly be a delight on a future visit and those gulls may well have me back very soon, but yesterday it just felt like it wasn’t going to be our day for seeing any of our targets.