Great Tits – forty years ago in my nature notebooks

Forty years ago I was busy compiling my nature notebooks. I was twelve years old when I started them and was very dedicated. Every weekend I set out alone to walk the five mile round trip to a local nature spot in the post-industrial desolation of Oldham. I brought back samples, took photographs, and made sketches. Back home I would go through my handful of nature books or walk the two mile round trip to the local library to help identify my finds.

I was fascinated by the birds which surrounded me. They were few and far between and large trees with food and nesting sites were scarce. Here’s my entry for 18 August 1976:

Great Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

When I spotted a flock of Great Tits later I noted it down and even did a pencil crayon drawing.

Great Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Today I’m in Devon in a country park. If I was in Orkney there would be a very small chance of seeing Great Tits. I’ve driven there with a modern camera with a telephoto lens and a handful of mealworms from the garden centre. I spot the Great Tits straight away as they have a black crest and a black line down their front.

Great Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Great Tits experience time in a completely different way to us, with their fast heart beats and relentless dash for food and apparent constant feeling of imminent danger. I’m still just as delighted to see them as I was forty years ago.

Great Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

And yes, they are not as acrobatic as Blue Tits but are still delightful to watch.

Great Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Forty years and twenty Great Tit generations later these Great Tits are still successful and brilliantly adapted to their woodland environment. I can only hope that in 500 years or twenty human generations my descendants are doing as well.

Great Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

My copy of ‘A Comprehensive Field Guide to the Birds of Westray’ lists the Great Tit as breeding throughout Europe, but not in Orkney and says that one stayed from 22nd until 31 December 1982. It’s all about habitat.

Previous Post
Feel the breeze - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Feel the breeze

Next Post
Jay - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)

Jay - forty years ago in my nature notebooks

Jays always seem like exotic birds to me. They're pink! They have a crest! They have blue and black feathers! They look as ... Read more

Feel free to leave a Reply :)