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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Late to the Penduline party

On Monday 2nd April, having endured a dismal birding Easter, I had the week off and not seen a single notable bird (easily the worst on record for me, personally) I had been out during the day, not realising my phone had lost power and casually checked twitter on the computer to be met with the outstanding news that Andrew E had found a Penduline Tit at Leathes Ham! I raced down there. Walking along the path bordering the Tennis courts, Craig & Rob H were still there plus a quickly departing Dick. It had been seen 10 minutes previously but had disappeared into the reeds. A long tense 30 minutes crept by, before Rob H brilliantly picked out a distant rendition of its very highly pitched call, he very kindly called me over and I finally saw the bird, a superb male Penduline Tit, initially really obscured by some bushes on the west side of the track, a stunning bird like a mini male Red- backed Shrike in summer with rufous brown back black mask over the face and a cream underbelly. It showed in the bush, initially obscured but it flew to another bush and showed near the top of the bush before it eventually flew across the path and into the bushes bordering the reeds. On Tuesday 3rd April, I had to start at 8am, so by 6.30am, I was back at Leathes Ham, looking behind the tennis courts and the bird was seen in the bushes singing, a very high pitched and trilling song, it was lovely to see it singing the first time I have seen this species in full song rather than the call. I was back looking and saw the the excellent male Penduline Tit feeding on a bulrush. I then had to leave. I was back at 6.15pm and met Justin L and I eventually picked up the bird feeding from a bulrush, I watched it for some 15 minutes feeding away and when it hopped to the back it was almost completely obscured. It later flew towards the reeds near the bridge. On Wednesday 3rd April, I didn't see the bird between 7.15 and 8.40am but did hear it early on twice briefly.

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