Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Long-tailed Tits.

With the sky brightening late morning today I was thinking about going out when movement outside the window caught my attention ..... a number of very small bundles with long tails had descended upon one of the feeders .... unusually for me, the camera was not to hand so I had to go upstairs to recover it .... but would these tiny and infrequent visitors to the garden hang around .....

With camera in hand I gently opened the back door and quietly crept out to the edge of the patio while listening to the numerous twittering 'tsee..tsee..tsee' contact calls emanating from various leafy locations around the garden and estimated that around ten Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus) had decided to bless me with their presence.

As far as I could determine most of them were juveniles and they constantly flitted from one perch to another as they sought out tiny insects from the foliage in the pittosporum, lilac and hawthorn.

With so much greenery at this time of year they weren't going to make it easy for me to capture their antics but time seemed to stand still as I turned first in one direction and then the other in an attempt to focus on the different individuals.


After feeding they all seemed to spend ages preening their shaggy coats.

To put their diminutive size into perspective they are only 13-15cm in length including their 7-9cm tails. Their normal habitat is both deciduous and mixed woodland with a well developed shrub layer plus farmland and heathland with scattered trees, bushes etc. Unlike many species the young don't leave the parents' territory at the end of the breeding season so it is quite usual to see a mixed flock of adults and their progeny together with unattached blood relatives of the adult male. As the season progresses it is usually just the females that defect to neighbouring flocks.

This young fluffy pair decided to perch high up in the open obviously enjoying the brief period of sunshine.


The youngsters will undergo a complete moult into adult plumage before their first winter and eventually look like their parents (see image above that I took on 1st April 2011) with their distinctive black, white, grey and variable pink colours.   FAB.

Please check out WORLD BIRD WEDNESDAY for more glorious images from around the globe.

25 comments:

  1. Wow, Frank... what a wonderful moment in your garden! You got great captures with your camera in the end too. Brilliant, I've never seen images of them as young before... thank-you :-)

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  2. Wonderful images! This is a great series. Now wasn't that fun for you???

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  3. i still say this is the most adorable bird on the face of this Earth! and the little fuzz-monster young ones are too cute! they look like little chicks with long tails!

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  4. They are adorable birds. Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing!

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  5. Brilliant Frank the young birds are so beautiful.
    I feel so fortunate up here in Cheshire that for the last few years they have been so common in my garden and in my local woods.

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  6. Hi shirl. Their visits here are so infrequent that I just had to stay home and spend as much time as possible with them.

    Hi Mona. It certainly made my day.

    Hi Theresa. Also known as the 'Bottle Tit' for obvious reasons.

    Thanks Eileen.

    Cheers Andrew. They are also common on my local patches but usually only visit the garden once or twice each year.

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  7. How darling! The babies almost look fuzzy.

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  8. So, so cute! It was, indeed, a blessing!

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  9. Sweet little things and you got some great images.

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  10. It is wonderful to have LTT's visiting our gardens. Like you they are all around the area but don't come into the garden that often

    Well done on your captures of them.. they don't stay still for very long!!

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  11. Little crackers these. Great to have them visiting in their noisy little raiding parties.
    Lovely captures Frank.

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  12. The are the teeniest weeniest cuties! I love the way they look like shaggy manes. Great to see the well groomed adult as well. -:))

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  13. They're beauties Frank!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  14. Hi Frank, such a beautiful post! They are so cute little creatures:)

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  15. Discovered you on World Bird Wednesday and very much enjoyed! New follower!

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  16. Great images and interesting info, Frank. They must be entertaining to watch.

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  17. Hi Lois. Yes, still lots of fluffy down at the moment.

    Hi Kathie. Yes, a delightful encounter.

    Thanks Martha Z.

    Hi Tricia. I did wonder if they would ever sit still ... then I later realised I had 100+ shots to review ... a lot went in the bin!

    Cheers Keith. Just a pity they don't make more frequent visits.

    Thank you Arija.

    Thanks Gary.

    Hi joo. Thanks .. just little balls of fluff with a long tail!

    missing moments. Welcome and thank you Reena.

    Hi Hilke. Well they kept me enraptured for almost an hour.

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  18. Beautiful birds and they are so tiny! Especially nice to have so many of them in the garden together.

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  19. How lucky to have a visit from these cute little birds! I love the photo of those two extra-fluffy ones! Great series of shots!

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  20. Awesome shots of the little ones Frank. If they are anything like our Bushtits, they're not easy subjects to photograph. I love their plumage.

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  21. Hi mick. Yes, tiny bundles of fun.

    @bailey-road. Thanks Pat, I felt very fortunate to have received a visit from this species.

    Hi Larry. Thanks. Yes, very similar to your Bushtits ... always on the move!

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  22. OH what cuties!! I enjoyed seeing these guys very much!!

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  23. Hi Sondra. Delighted to share this recent encounter.

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  24. it was a bonanza photo-shoot Frank! That helps make up for their abscence at other times of the year. Thanks for sharing, so enjoyable to see this beautiful little bird.

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  25. Thanks Carole. I just hope I get another session with these little beauties sometime this year.

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