By CleanSteve

A long-tailed tit outside my window

Lying in bed sipping a cup of early morning tea I noticed a blurry dark mass  rather hidden by the remaining leaves of the tree outside the window. I realised it was a woodpecker and after a few minutes of watching it hop about on the thicker branches and trunk, I realised it might be preparing to dig below the bark for a grub, as I caught one doing in October last year.

I fetched a camera and looking out of the window I tried to track its progress in  and around the tree, but only managed a blurry picture of its head through a gap in the shade leaves. I waited for a while after it had disappeared again and then my attention was caught by the business of the other garden birds.

I was pleased to see my first blackcap of this autumn as it flitted from the same tree to a sunflower feeder. Goldfinches scurried about and then sat filling their bellies. A couple of chaffinches flew between the ground and other tree branches. A female bullfinch brightened my spirits as I haven't seen them very often recently, and have been worried about their status.

Crows, magpies and jackdaws stalked and squawked in the garden. Five collared doves appeared on the ground pecking for dropped seeds, before flying up onto the electrical wires straddling the rear gardens. I've never seen them together like that so close at hand.

Finally a lone long-tailed tit flew up to a branch close to me and had a long stare, so it is my blip for the day. They are one of my very favourite bird species and are quite amenable to human presence. Sometimes I can stand just three feet away from where a bunch of long-tailed tits are feeding on the sunflower feeder outside the back door, twittering away like mad.

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