October 17th, 2010, 04:33 PM
Rarer than Bluetails - caudatus LtTs
There I was, having poor but still nice views of Red-flanked Bluetail, when a call alerted me that Sean Nixon had found two caudatus (white-headed) Long-tailed Tits at Southwold campsite. What do do? No contest.
On arrival just Sean and two others watching these two beauties at point blank range - gorgeous.
Below are three photos by my 13 year old son, Ben, taken with a Fuji S200EXR.
October 17th, 2010, 04:50 PM
Cracking birds, I'd love to see one in the UK. Let's hope this signifies an influx...
October 17th, 2010, 06:16 PM
Have to agree - they're stunning. Seen them in Denmark and I'd go to see one here (Northumbs) if it turned up.
And yes definitely rarer, considering there's been something like 24 of these now this autumn
October 18th, 2010, 06:47 PM
saw them today, lovely birds, totally unconcerned with us. Best non-tick of the year.
October 19th, 2010, 03:02 PM
Three 'European' Long-tailed Tits europaeus were seen and trapped at Dungeness yesterday . Go this page and scroll down http://www.dungenessbirdobs.org.uk/lateframe2010.html
October 19th, 2010, 03:59 PM
Wonder what the incidence of white-headed British LTTs is, like those dark-breasted Barn owl nestlings that sometimes pop up in nestboxes? Any caudatus that get here presumably stay and get absorbed, so there might well be some recessive/dominant genes knocking around in coastal areas.
October 19th, 2010, 07:05 PM
Originally Posted by mafting
Interesting question - an eyeballing of the records in the Birdguides database (appended below) indicates a tendency for late autumn and early spring arrivals, which fits into a fairly typical pattern of nominally irruptive Northern European passerines. That two of the birds were paired (one of which was feeding young) with British Long-tailed Tits does support your idea, but presumably any hybrids might express an intermediate phenotype and not resemble pure caudatus?
12/05/06 Northern Long-tailed Tit Essex Southend-on-Sea male with Long-tailed Tit now feeding young in the nest
25/03/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit E Sussex Beddingham 13:55 23/03/04 one in bushes by the railway line near the footbridge at TQ436074; it appeared to be paired with a British race bird and was also present the previous day
along with this report:
15/05/05 Northern Long-tailed Tit Wilts private site a report of one trapped at an undisclosed site this morning
Genetically speaking there isn't much in the lack of crown stripes cf Päckert et al. (2010):
Ae. caudatus shows a highly variable plumage pattern throughout its range with respect to black lateral crown stripes (e.g. these are not present in any member of the caudatus subspecies group), pinkish colouration of shoulder patches and underparts, contrast of cheek patches and bib (for colour plates see (Harrap and Quinn, 1996) and (del Hoyo et al., 2008)). Strikingly, morphologically distinct subspecies groups of Ae. caudatus do not represent distinct genetic units, because each of the two haplotype clusters comprises individuals from the europaeus and caudatus group (and even from the alpinus-group; two specimens from Corsica) and these findings are paralleld by the geographic variation of nuclear genes, too. Vaurie (1957a) described zones of intergradation between the caudatus and the europaeus groups in E Europe and for the alpine foothills of northern Italy between the europaeus and the alpinus groups. So far, there is no plausible explanation why and how these narrow zones of intergradation between subspecies groups remained stable over time and how distinct phenotypes retain their integrity against each other, though there is obviously considerable gene flow between them. A similar situation was found in the Carrion Crow and the Hooded Crow (Corvus c. corone, C. c. cornix) where bidirectional mitochondrial introgression extends far beyond the E and W boundaries of the relatively narrow hybrid zone of distinct differently coloured morphotypes (Haring et al., 2007).
However, it might be a big assumption to presume that they don't usually make it back - for example Cramp (1963) details the following Great Tit return movements:
Evidence of return movements was provided by a Great Tit ringed at Esher (Surrey) in October 1959 and recovered on the East Friesian Islands, Germany, in April i960; and another ringed at Shoreham (Sussex) on 12th March i960 and found at Bremerhaven, Germany, in July. A third, ringed on the Isle of Wight in February, had reached Holland by 14th March, before the main outward movements were reported from the south coast.
Maybe I'm out of my depth arguing with a tit expert but given that these critters are currently in Aegithalidae I'll have a go.....
Records per Birdguides (1st reports only):
15:19 17/10/10 Northern Long-tailed Tit Suffolk Southwold
two at the campsite toilet block
13:13 24/01/10 Northern Long-tailed Tit London Putney
possible at the north end of Doverhouse Road though mobile (present for several days)
14:03 18/12/06 Northern Long-tailed Tit Kent Tenterden 13:00
two at Homewood School from 12:30-13:00 when they flew off southwest with Long-tailed Tits
12:12 18/04/06 Northern Long-tailed Tit Norfolk Winterton-on-Sea 17/04/06
in North Dunes briefly yesterday (on Sunday 2 Garganey (1 drake)
21:47 15/04/06 Northern Long-tailed Tit Norfolk Hickling Broad
one from the boardwalk this afternoon
19:53 10/04/06 Northern Long-tailed Tit Essex Southend-on-Sea 15:30
at least one in a private garden late afternoon and present since 31st March
12:23 02/04/06 Northern Long-tailed Tit Norfolk Waxham 12:05
caudatus type just north of Shangrila Cottage
21:52 20/12/05 Northern Long-tailed Tit W Sussex Cowfold
one reported in a garden on a private estate at Crabtree
13:23 18/10/05 Northern Long-tailed Tit E Yorks Spurn
two at the Point this afternoon including one showing well by rusty boat
11:40 15/05/05 Northern Long-tailed Tit Wilts private site
a report of one trapped at an undisclosed site this morning
18:35 21/03/05 Northern Long-tailed Tit Derbys Carsington Water 14:00
one possible with flock of Long-tailed Tits in woods leading down to Sheepwash Hide
22:55 09/02/05 Northern Long-tailed Tit Glos Dursley
one probable reported today on a garden feeder in Oak drive off St. George's Road
10:12 10/12/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit Aberdeenshire Aberdeen 09/12/04
one with Long-tailed Tits in the Cruikshank Botanical Gardens at Aberdeen University yesterday afternoon NJ937086
09:52 31/10/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit IOM Port Mooar
one this morning but no sign of the Pallas's Warbler
19:08 17/10/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit Aberdeenshire Meikle Loch
one briefly at Feu Farm, southeast of the loch before moving off inland with 29 Long-tailed Tit; also Siberian Chiffchaff
13:48 17/04/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit Essex Lee Valley CP
one reported at Cornmill Meadows TQ384015. Park at car park on east side and walk north to view area by stone obelisk
21:21 25/03/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit E Sussex Beddingham 13:55 23/03/04
one in bushes by the railway line near the footbridge at TQ436074; it appeared to be paired with a British race bird and was also present the previous day
15:39 23/02/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit Essex Warley
one in Hampton Wood, off Woodman Road, it favours the northeast side and goes in nearby gardens TQ595924
13:10 29/01/04 Long-tailed Tit Suffolk Westleton Heath
at least one of the race caudatus still with the tit flock on edge of the pines in northwest corner
23:17 26/01/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit E Sussex Lewes 24/01/04
3 reported at the sporting grounds in Lewes but no further details
09:50 25/01/04 Northern Long-tailed Tit Suffolk Westleton Heath
a northern race (nominate caudatus) by the iron road this morning; park in the car park just northeast of the village at TM454695 and view trees along the footpath northeast
Last edited by Alex Lees; October 19th, 2010 at 07:15 PM.
October 19th, 2010, 08:50 PM
One found dead at Tynemouth (Northumbs), November 1852 (specimen in Hancock Museum).
Missed it myself, unfortunately
October 19th, 2010, 09:32 PM
In the hand by numbers..great birds!
BTW, I had a flock around my house the other day. Seem to never get tired of them.
October 19th, 2010, 10:33 PM