The weather was pretty dark and overcast for most of January but I did have some reasonable success with photographing a few woodland birds coming down to the feeders on my local nature reserve during the few rare sunny spells.
My main focus during these sessions was to add a few more good shots of Nuthatch to my portfolio. This beautiful and charismatic little bird is usually most easily detected by its frequently uttered, loud, sharp call.
They are mainly insectivores but also supplement their diet with nuts and seeds when insect prey is scarce, making them frequent visitors to bird tables in the winter.
They usually forage by descending head first down branches and tree trunks, investigating cracks and crevices in the bark along the way, but they also occasionally climb upwards as well.
It is fairly common in deciduous woodlands in England and has recently started to expand its range into southern Scotland.
A Willow Tit was a surprise visitor that made a nice change from just the usual suspects. Unfortunately it was a very shy and infrequent visitor to the bird table, never staying more than a second at a time on the bird table and never perched on the branches I had set up but it has been quite a while since I last saw this formerly common species so the brief views I did get were very welcome.
Willow Tit is currently suffering a rapid decline in the UK and its population has crashed by over 50% in the last 25 years. The reasons for the decline are uncertain but habitat destruction is more than likely to be one of the factors.
The commonest visitor to the feeder station was the Great Tit and the number of individuals on the table, or the perches I had set up above the table, at any one time often reached double figures.
Blue Tits were not quite so common but there were usually two or three present most of the time.
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