Rare vis­i­tors mak­ing them­selves at home

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

Up to three rare pen­du­line tits have been seen dur­ing Novem­ber on and off in the reedbed by the Han­son Hide. The hide is op­po­site the en­trance track to the Dun­geness RSPB part of the Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve. They are small birds roughly the same size as the fa­mil­iar blue tits you get in your gar­den, but they are found in marshy ar­eas where reedbeds, stands of bul­rushes and wil­low bushes are found. If you get a good view of one – they are quite dis­tinc­tive in that they have a black face mask, a bit like a ban­dit within a grey head. They have cream un­der­parts, and a rich tawny brown back. Their call is fine and high pitched, but they do hide in the reeds for long pe­ri­ods. One trick is to look for the bul­rush seed heads which are shaped like big cigars and watch for the fluffy seeds float­ing in the wind, when the birds rip them apart. They don’t breed in Bri­tain, but are spread­ing across Europe and is a species which may start to breed in the fu­ture. Dun­geness has plenty of suit­able habi­tat for the species and usu­ally gets at least a sight­ing most years and some­times mul­ti­ple birds ap­pear like this au­tumn.

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Project, tele­phone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk

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