On Thursday 14 Feb 2019 the sky was nice and clear so I decided to go along to St Aidans RSPB Nature Park. I had seen loads of reports and photos on the internet about a male Bearded Tit that, for some reason, was showing itself rather well at the water’s edge.

From the visitor centre I could see people with cameras and tripods congregating around a small area of one of the lakes. I didn’t fancy elbowing my way in so I went for a walk around first.

Canada Goose

Apart from some Gulls flying around the first birds were some Canada Geese flying from the grassy slopes across to the far side of the park.

Crested Grebe

Several Great Crested Grebe were around.

Crested Grebe

Some showing off their crests.

Reed Beds

The reed beds there are quite extensive and no doubt hide many birds.

Tufted Duck

They also create reflections on the water.

Mute Swan

This Mute Swan, coming in to land, touched its wing tips to the water. Amazing control.

Mute Swan

Then Swan then put its brakes down and skidded along for a few yards.

Mute Swan
Shooting the Bearded Tit

By the time I had waled around the lake the mass of photographers had reduced somewhat so I went to see the male Bearded Tit.

Bearded Tit

I spent a bit of time walking up and down the path keeping pace with the bird that was showing well. Even posing while clinging to two different reed stalks.

Bearded Tit

It didn’t seem the least bit interested in us and looked as though it would hop past those that were actually standing on the bank in the reeds in front of it.

Bearded Tit

The behaviour of this bird has surprised a few people. I have read that one person is suggesting that the beak of the bird is unusual and that this might mean that it can’t feed on the seeds of the reeds in the same way the others in the park can. The others will be well hidden in the thick reed beds.

Bearded Tit

Normally the upper beak is slightly longer than the lower one and curls over the end slightly. This bird looks as though its upper bill is curved along its length and is shorter than the lower one. Perhaps that means it is having to feed in a different way.

Visitor Centre

This photo shows the visitor centre for the park with a Bucyrus-Erie coal shovel behind it. Kestrels and Stock Doves are known to nest on it and it looks as though the same is going to happen this year.

View over the lakes

This view of the Nature Park was taken about four o’clock as the sun was getting lower in the sky.

Sunset at St Aidans

And this one was taken just after five as the sun was setting. This is just after I had been watching 3 Roe Deer on the slopes over my right shoulder.

There are a few more photos of my visit in the flickr album here.

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