Sunday, 1 March 2015

Penduline Tits, Darts Farm Devon

Darts Farm near Exeter in Devon is the oddest RSPB reserve I've ever been to. You pull into the car park of a shopping centre and go through the Cotswold Outdoor shop to get to the RSPB reception. The "reserve", or at least the bit we saw, was a hide with no back in between two small fishing lakes and a couple of flooded fields. Between one of the lakes and the hide, there was a small patch of bulrush and here, unlikely as it might seem, three penduline tits have taken up residence since at least Christmas.

They do come and go, and have been seen on the other side of the river as far as RSPB Bowling Green marsh and Exminster marshes, and between 14th and 23rd February they seemed to disappear from the area completely with no reported sightings from anywhere.

We arrived at Darts Farm at 9:15am following a four hour trouble free drive from Merseyside. The birds had not been seen when we arrived and we expected a long wait. There were several stonechats on the bulrushes and at least four chiffchaffs, as well as a few wigeon, black-tailed godwits and curlew on the flooded fields. Then suddenly a penduline tit popped up onto a bulrush, and was immediately joined by a second. Where they came from I couldn't say, but suddenly they were right in front of us and performing admirably, tearing up the bulrushes in their search for food. We only saw two birds, and that has been the way of it recently, some days two are seen, other days three.

I've seen penduline tits on the nest in Greece and in winter in Spain, but these were my first in the UK.

UK: 406 (Penduline tit)







1 comment:

  1. Amazing what you can achieve with a couple of flooded fields and sympathetic management ;)

    Paul B

    ReplyDelete

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