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Long-tailed Tits

This weekend (end of January 2023) was the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, started as an event for children in 1979. So we joined in to share the information about our garden visitors which will help map the changing picture for England. Despite the effusive welcome, trees and bushes, log piles and bird feeders teeming with food, the variety of small birds we see is limited mostly to blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits; blackbirds and thrushes; robins and wrens. Not quite so welcome are the pigeons and magpies. We also see greater spotted woodpeckers on the peanuts, and pheasants roaming free. We seldom see finches these days though I did see a bright salmon pink bullfinch yesterday. He didn't appear for the Birdwatch count of course.


For several years we have had the family of long tailed tits visit our bird feeders, fat balls being their favourite. Hard to count them as they keep moving, but this year there are at least seven.



Long-tailed tits at the garden feeder


Long-tailed tits eating in the garden

When I saw Claire's captivating painting of the long tailed tit in flight, exhibited at the National Honey Show, I knew Steve would love it for Christmas, and so this lovely little bird has delighted us both ever since.

Watercolour painting of a long-tailed tit and roses

Claire:

A few years ago I painted a number of birds loosely in watercolour; until then, I had focused mainly on creating realistic portraits.


It felt slightly disloyal to ‘serious’ art – but I decided it was simply the flip side to working on such time-consuming, detailed pieces – quite often, after completing a realistic painting that may have taken many hours, I would get obsessed with painting whimsical versions of their characters – a change is as good as a holiday.


There have been several birds in my life that have left me feeling enchanted; it is hard not to imagine the long-tailed tit, beautiful and gentle in appearance, living in its ethereal other world, when unobserved by humans.

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