Absolutely superb views of bearded tit today! To be fair, conditions were perfect: barely any wind; a bit of sun to bring them out; and no sign of any predators!

Here’s the summary of sightings from the day …

Early this morning a pair of bearded tit were reported feeding very close to the path on the Reedbed Trail.  If that wasn’t enough, watchers also picked up a barn owl hunting in the mists along the bank of the river, just behind Reedbed One.

Little grebe were also providing very close views today

It may have taken a while, but eventually the sun broke through this afternoon. Around that time, visitors picked up the tell-tale pinging calls of the beardies once again. As there was no wind, all eyes were on the reed tops, looking for movements.

Sure enough, individual reed stems were being bent. It wasn’t hard to picture what was happening half-way down!

It might seem a bit odd but you can tell a lot about what creature is moving through the reeds by just watching those reed stems. Grebe and coot disturb a smallish circle of stems and by and large work around a particular clump. Bittern, despite their stealth, disturb a larger swathe and move slowly. And bearded tit move from single stem to single stem, their weight often bending it over so that the very top of the reed disappears.

Today, watchers tracking the imagined movement of the birds were finally rewarded when the pair Tarzaned their way to the front of the reedbed!

Even better, they stayed feeding in this way for minutes, providing watchers with a terrific chance to observe the acrobatic ways that this species picks over the reed seed.

Bearded tit flutter flutter from one reed to another, often landing half-way up its length. They then shuffle their way up the stem, bending it in the process until they are within reach of the seed. Then it’s just a matter of picking through the seeds until they’ve had their fill, using those short wings and that long tail to maintain balance.

Thanks to the recent changes in the reedbed paths at Old Moor, the beardies seem unbothered by people watching them so closely. For us, it’s a rare treat to have such intimate views of these charismatic little birds.

Eventually though, they decide to try their luck elsewhere, leaving a great many smiles in their wake.

Even the crows were impressed!

Until next time.