Saturday, 12 January 2013

Inner London's first Bearded Tits



It takes quite a lot to overshadow the continuing presence of two Buff-bellied Pipits together in the London Area, but that feat has now been achieved - by two Bearded Tits. The first time the species has ever been seen in Inner London, their presence in a tiny reedbed close to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in the ludicrous location of Hyde Park is the reason for their impromptu fame. Often perched within feet of passers-by, 'pinging' and swinging among the phragmites heads in the cold east wind, they have drawn a steady crowd throughout today as birders arrived from far and wide to admire them.



Amazingly, the lost duo were originally located by north London birder Alan Gibson back on 11 December and have presumably been there ever since. Alan is a long-serving stalwart of my Alexandra Park local patch, but our paths haven't crossed there over the Christmas period. So in a refreshingly old-school approach to bird news dissemination, Alan - who does not have a mobile phone or a computer - rang my office at Birdwatch on 4 January and left a message about them. I was in Scotland at the time, so didn't see it until my return to work four days later, by which time I assumed they must be long gone (indeed so did he, thinking they may have flown off when he first found them). Nonetheless, I alerted Hyde Park patcher Des McKenzie to the news and tweeted it out via @birdingetc for general interest anyway; Des then reported that another Hyde Park birder, Ralph Hancock, thought he may have heard a Bearded Tit at the site. So it was game on for dawn yesterday, and Des duly relocated the birds.




It seems extraordinary that they have lingered so long at this marginal site, and also remained undetected; even more incredible that they are back on the map following a Sixties-style field telegraph alert. The story may not be over yet, as both individuals are ringed. From analysis of the hundreds of photos taken of them, it may be possible to piece together the code and trace their origin - hopefully more to follow on this.

Some of the ring code can be deciphered from the images - in time, it may be possible to trace the birds' origin.

3 comments:

  1. Dominic

    NK EUM
    LON SW7
    L827

    ?? EUM
    LON SW7
    ?928

    From photos taken Sun AM.Regards Colin Manville

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ringing details for both of these birds are now on the BTO's Demog Blog:
    http://btoringing.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/londons-first-beardies.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. And a bizarre new twist to the tale is here:
    http://btoringing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/more-on-wandering-bearded-tits.html

    ReplyDelete

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