The Caterpillar Service – Day Six

Here’s the scene next to a busy public footpath:

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It may appear tranquil but deep within the brambles is a Long-Tailed Bushtit’s nest. There’s a constant procession of adult birds bringing invertebrates in to the chicks. It’s not just the parents supplying provisions; I’ve counted at least five birds arriving back at the same time and making their own circuitous route to the hidden nest.

I’ve moved around to below the birds, come in the evening so the direction of light is right, and positioned myself so there’s a tiny sliver of blue sky behind their normal flightpath.

Then one bursts from the brambles and makes a dash for the nest:

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s a caterpillar and a spider safely gripped in its beak.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I enjoy the irregular way they fly and hang in the air between wingbeats:

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

This one has a traffic light arrangement of invertebrates.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

And having the long legs of this fly in your eye-line must get annoying. It’s like trying to drive with a cracked windscreen.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It hops around the perch and heads off to the nest:

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

With this supply of food the chicks must be growing fast now, surely.

Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Long-Tailed Bushtits usually only live for two years. This may be their last chance for children. The entire family of aunts and uncles who have probably lost their broods are chipping in with help.

I hope they make it.

More Long-Tailed Bushtits

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Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Caterpillar Service – Day Five The caterpillars keep on coming. Beak-fulls of them. Green ones, brown ones, grey ones and orange ones; they've all been… read more
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Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Caterpillar Service – Day Two Yesterday I spent five hours on a public footpath overlooking a Long-Tailed Bushtits' nest. I'm happy that I wasn't disturbing… read more
Long-Tailed Tit - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Caterpillar Service – Day One The call of the Long-Tailed Bushtit is quite distinctive. It must be, because even I can recognise it. 'Tsurp', they… read more

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