Northern Long-tailed Tit

At Last

Headed up this morning to Luddenden Dean in West Yorkshire, confident in the confirmed presence of at least two Northern Long-tailed Tits.  After a couple of hours at the top end of the Dean, located a flock of about 10 Long-tailed Tits with one absolute stunner:  full white head, neat black collar, loads of white in the tertials, completely white breast.  Wowser!  It was a little distant and didn’t stay around for long but I managed a couple of pics.  If you’re planning to go, do not drive down the road.  There is no parking, you will get stuck and a Yorkshireman will come out and eat you!  Seriously, best to park in one of the villages and be prepared to walk 1 ½ miles plus .  It’s very beautiful, a great walk and there’s no room for your car.  I also saw another first for me – three pigs with wool on.  Woolly Pigs.  What the heck?

.

.

.

Northern Long-tailed tit ‘caudatus. Luddunden, West Yorkshire, 17 January 2012. Martin Garner. Bit distant- hope I get to go back for more…

 

Sheep-Pigs.

If you go see the super cute Northern Long-tailed Tits you get these thrown in for free. More on Sheep-pigs here.

.

6 thoughts on “Northern Long-tailed Tit

  1. beast

    I was tempted to say ‘crippling’ in regards to those LTtits…but i’m bored with that description so i’ll just call them stunning instead…[oh for one of those northern long tails in Leicestershire]…!

    Interesting ‘sheep-pigs’….i presume not a result of genetic engineering as last nights spider-goats on BBC2’s Horizon “Playing God” episode…?!!

    ps…a tad disappointed that the spider-goats didn’t have eight legs tho…[ha]…!

    Reply
  2. Graham Shortt

    Martin, have you looked in detail at the ID of these birds. I am sure I have read previously that pigment abnormalities and the possiblity of ‘throwbacks’ should be considered in evaluating putative vagrant caudatus. Two together, inland, suggests to me the need to be careful of this pitfall. How has this been ruled out? (Genuine enquiry from a non-expert, not a smartarse rhetorical question)

    Reply
    1. Martin Garner

      hi Graham

      Good question. I don’t know anything about ‘throwbacks’ in Long-tailed Tits, though I guess it’s possible. If throwbacks were to look identical to genuine nominate caudatus, then of course it would be impossible to know if it was a local British throwback or bird of genuine Scandinavian origin. So a couple of points. The Luddunden Dean birds appear to show characters such as more white in tertials, no streaks in breast, no dark marks in head, neat black collar: all used to separate nominate caudatus from British birds and continental intergrades etc. So ticks all boxes for ‘Northerns’ with no anomalies. One would need to be able to demonstrate that a throwback could look exactly like a ‘Northern’ rather than just a character such as ‘white-headedness’. On the issues of vagrancy of inland passerines I am quite content! While a number of recent ‘Northern’s have been found at coastal sights, so many Scandinavian passerines are found well inland, wintering in Britain, that there is plenty of precedent. Off the top of my head- Northern Bullfinches, load or Robins and thrushes, Arctic Redpolls, (I think ringing shows Northern Treecreeper may have crossed the country), not to mention the further flung little passerines like Yellow-browed Warblers and eastern Lesser Whitethroats in well-inland urban garden settings.

      if you find the throwbacks paper do let me know- be interesting and important read

      thanks Martin

      Reply

Leave a Reply