Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Sam and I thought we would go for a mornings birding at shatterford in the the New Forest today. It turned out to be a very successful trip getting all the birds we wanted apart from one (great grey shrike).
As soon as we arrived we could hear crossbills feeding in the pines and pine cones seemed to be falling all around us (should have worn a helmet). We located some feeding just above eye level and in perfect morning sunlight in the pines at shatterford carpark (1 male and 1 female). Here are the photos, didn't want to get too close incase we scared them off but still very pleased despite not getting any great flight shots other than the weird one at the bottom (the female did not perform so well so no good pics of her):
Believe it or not this is a crossbill, but from that angle it could be many things..When walking back from these to join the main track we picked up a marsh/willow tit feeding on the ground.

We both had a inital gut feeling it was a willow tit as it seemd very 'plump', had no glossy sheen to it's black cap and there seemed to be alot of white on the wing. Unfortunatly it did not call but we were fairly convinced, comments are welcome:
We also had fun photographing a treecreeper, hiding behind trees to get closer to it:Whilst walking along side the rail line we had good but faily distant views of a female hen harrier which was great, although I prefer the males ;-), can't be picky with these though!!

Further along we had nice, but again fairly distant views of a male dartford warbler. I can't wait till I get closer to ones of these with the camera:

We stumbled across a female red deer (I think) aswell which posed nicely with the back lighting:

ok this one isn't a deer but I thought it was a nicely composed photo with the back lighting aswell..A pied wagtail posed nicely on the walk back to the car:

There was a male stonechat near the car park aswell. Also saw a woodcock but unfortunatly sam was having too much fun breaking ice and missed it as it dropped down into the heath :-p.

Year list is now up to 75 but not many waders yet as no time speant at the seaside :-)

Happy Birding


Billy Dykes said...

Hey Dan. Great blog, great Crossbill shots, can I add you to my links list?

Thanks, Billy D

Daniel Trim said...

Hi Billy, thanks a lot, I was very lucky with light and where the birds were, was excellent! Yeah that would be great. I'm planning on putting a links bit on my blog so I will do one to your blog also,


Billy Dykes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Billy Dykes said...

Thanks, its billsbirding.blogspot.com, will come back to your blog regularly!
Keep it up


Tony Morris said...

Nice Blog. My initial thoughts on your Willow Tit are that you are right, the wing panel looks good and, at this time of year, Marsh Tits should be fresh and therefore not show any pale wear. Even after 55 years of birding I still think that they are a very difficult pair, and there are some birds that seem to do the calls of both species. Here, in Kent, Willow Tits have all but vanished.

Daniel Trim said...

Thanks for your opinion Tony, It really was a puzzling bird, I have seen many marsh and one willow when I was less experienced and someone showed me it. The thing that makes me doubt it as a willow is the contrast between the two colours on the cheek (easier to see in the original). Oh well put it down to experience, as you say they are a very tricky pair.
Cheers, Dan

Gareth said...

Hi Dan I think its a Marsh Tit, i.e. it appears to have a two tone cheek patch (as you note) and it looks to have pale cutting edges to the mandibles, altough the pic wont open larger for me for some reason, so I cannot see the latter feature clearly. To me it also has the 'feel' of a marsh, but that is perhaps subjective!

As Tony has said, they are a difficult pair to id conclusively.