29 Nov 2022

Zorro arrives to Cheshire: the 2nd Penduline Tit for the county

Penduline Tits are beautiful little birds. I've been lucky enough to see quite a few in the UK but they're still scarce visitors. The last ones I saw were in Gloucestershire in 2016 - see here when a party of these little masked bandits over wintered. They breed over most of mainland Europe but the distribution is patchy. They've been expanding their breeding ranger and now breed regularly as far north as Sweden. Despite this they are still a scarce bird in the UK although at one point they were touted as a potential colonist.

When Colin Davies found one at Pennington Flash, Greater Manchester on the 9th October this year we discussed the possibility of it coming across to Cheshire. Especially as it wasn't seen again after Colin found it....

Roll on 12th November and the news came through that the ringers on  No. 3 bed at Woolston had caught and ringed what was presumably the same bird!  Again it promptly disappeared only to be rediscovered by David Bowman on the new workings of No. 4 bed whilst doing a Jack Snipe Survey! it showed several times during the day to those that could get there. Unable to go the day it was re-found I planned to go the following day and set off just after 09.00. It didn't take me long to get to site but because I'd not been to the new workings I parked at he existing access point so had to turn back which meant I missed the first sighting just after 10 am. There followed a long, cold, and at times, wet wait during which people came and went before I picked it up distantly at the top of some phragmites only for it to duck down again. There were a few more brief sightings before I decided to return to the warmth of the car as I could no longer feel my hands or my feet! 

This is the 2nd record for Cheshire with the 1st being way back in 1986 when a one day bird was found at the former Barker and Briscoe brick works on the Wirral.

Many thanks to David Bowman and the rest of the Woolston volunteers for opening up the new site wardening it to allow people to come and view the bird. Hopefully it will over winter and give more people the opportunity to catch up with it.

Penduline Tit, Gloucestershire 2016 @Phil Woollen

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