Yesterday was MOT day, for the car that is, not me. I left it at Leads and walked down to Kearsney Abbey. The walk was fairly brief as the weather was poor and deteriorated quite quickly. Before I gave up I did manage to see a Kingfisher dash past and a Grey Wagtail flitting among the trees that were in the river.
The car wasn't too bad, but needed to be returned today for new brake pads. The weather was better and I decided to walk round the woodland at Kearsney. I have long thought that it looked suitable for Nuthatch but I've never found one there.
That is until today. As I walked round I was suddenly aware of a distant, but insistent call. Chwett chwett chwett, repeated several times.
I'm never sure how long it takes my brain to register what my ears are telling it, but suddenly I was aware that not too far away a Nuthatch was calling.
It took a while to find it, the trees are large, and despite its voice, the bird is small. Eventually I was standing underneath it and go a few record shots. This is the first Nuthatch that I've found in the area. and if they are breeding birds it may be an addition to the BTO atlas. Nut jobber is a name for the Nuthatch that dates back to at least 1544, from the now obsolete verb job, to peck.
My presence seemed to attract the attention of other birds, and unfortunately several dogs on their morning walks. Why is that dog walkers, having let their dogs off the lead think it sufficient to shout at them as the jump up at you, with muddy paws and loud barks? I love dogs, but I firmly believe that if the owners haven't taught them proper control and behaviour they should stay on a lead.
One of the other species around was a pair of Goldcrests, quietly going about their business, hardly making a sound. as they did so.
Back home, with the MOT certificate and a bill to match, the garden was alive with birds. I was thinking of dispensing with the doughnut shaped peanut feeder. If it is full and the weather is wet, the nut get soggy and go mouldy before being eaten.
On the other hand, if it is dry and the weather fine the feeder is attractive to Blue Tits and particularly Long-tailed Tits.
I was talking to Chris Roome earlier today, about winners and losers in the bird world. Over the last forty years or so the number of Long-tailed Tits has increased and they have become a familiar garden bird. Their range in the UK hasn't changed a great deal. plus 3% or so, but their numbers have increased by 97%.