Thursday, 10 January 2013

Up creep

Not the greatest shot of a Treecreeper taken yesterday but it illustrates a couple of interesting points. Firstly look at the span of that foot equivalent to half the length of its body and the extra long, thin and likely very sharp claws especially on the hind toe which is likely the reason Treecreepers only go up. I'll have to get a shot of a Nuthatch (which move both up and down the bark) to see how they differ ( I just checked, it's shorter). It's definately not a Short toed Treecreeper then which was the subject of a major faux pas a number of years ago when I started more serious birding and sent in a record card claiming one on the Carr. The then county recorder Ian Fisher came down to see the pictures which I was convinced, having half read the books, showed the white V at the end of the wing being in line rather than broken. What I didn't note was how all the records were from the south and that it had a whistling Goldcrest rather than Coal Tit type call. Ian deflated me down gently.
Secondly the stiff tail wedged against the tree for additional support whilst at the other end the long sharp beak searches for mites and grubs. Short toed have longer beaks don't you know which speaking of interesting facts Springwatch commented on their roosting habits where they chose a depression in the bark of a pine tree into which they flattened themselves leaving the camouflaged back exposed but retaining all body heat against the tree. I always thought they roosted, like they nest, in cracks in the tree trunk.
Last night also saw two Shorties flying but views are brief and compared to last year they are hunting over a very wide area. Another poor photo was had so don't bother enlarging it. What's worse I missed six Waxwings that passed through just before I arrived.

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