Tree-mendous

treecreeper2

This blog exposes a tiny mouse-like bird with a downcurved bill.  To a novice birder it can be difficult to spot, as its camouflage to its environment is outstanding.  Alison and I spotted quite a few of these last year at several venues, but these pictures are all taken within a week at the same location: the woods around Ordsall golf course.  We’ve never seen so many in one woodland area.

The treecreeper is a small 12cm bird, which, as you can see from the pictures, blends in so well with the bark of the tree.  They move very quickly upwards; higher and higher they go; then will often fly down to the trunk and start all over again (made my neck hurt looking up at them!).

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Notice the mottled brown back and the white underparts, and a long stiff tail to help with balance.  Its toes are sharp and wide for a good grip while searching the bark and branches for food, taking insects, spiders and other tiny creatures from the tree bark, probing with its long bill.  We watched them for ages shuffling up and around trunks and branches.  It can occasionally be seen foraging on walls or rocks.

The bird is a year-round resident in Great Britain, and loves woodland and park areas.  The nest is a very untidy affair: often built behind a loose piece of tree bark or sometimes ivy stem.  They rarely use a nestbox.

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The eggs are white with orange blotches, usually 5 – 6 eggs in one brood between April and June.  The call is a thin, long, high-pitched “seee” and a more vibrant “sreeee”.

If you ever get a glimpse of this little bird, stop as long as you can and watch it go upwards, clinging to the trunk and then flying down to start the ritual again.

It made a fantastic couple of days’ birding: these amazing little birds and their wild antics kept us happy for ages.

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The next few weeks are really exciting for us.  Many birds are now coming over to us for the spring and summer.  We can’t wait for the first swallow, whitethroat, swift, cuckoo, nightingale, etc.  We will share our first visitor with you all next week.  Hope you enjoy our blogs, as we enjoy doing them.  What a tree-eat!

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