A regular visitor to Leighton Moss was very lucky to see a pair of Bearded Tits on the grit trays at 08.00 this morning. Visits to the grit trays are most unusual at this time of year. Over the past 15 years of our colour ringing study at Leighton we have only had six grit tray sightings in March. Fortunately he took some photos and we were able to work out their history.
They were both ringed as juveniles in July 2016 and first seen together on the grit trays on 2nd October 2016. Since then they have been recorded together on 28 occasions including 13 sightings between early October and late November 2016 and 15 times between late September and late November 2017.
Another excellent example of Bearded Tits forming pairs in their first autumn and remaining faithful in subsquent years.We have recorded such behaviour on many ocasions but this is outstanding.
Will be interesting to see if there are any more grit tray sightings in this cold spring. Fortunately we have no snow but it has been very cold. Usually by this time of year there are numbers of insects appearing for the Beardies to catch, but not this year so they are probably still feeding on reed seed for which they need grit in the gizzard to grind up.