Fighting Tits

Yet another clear and sunny day, although with a chill breeze and the temperature just above freezing, it actually felt like February for a change.

Today the whole family made it out for a walk. We drove to Milnthorpe and after briefly investigating the swings, slides and climbing frames, set off across Dallam Deer Park. The kids enjoyed the gaggle of Mallards and the Solitary swan in the River Bela, but were too excited by the series of waymark posts to take much interest in the herd of Fallow Deer which live here.

On the track through Haverbrack we found a dead rat, which was the incident today which made the biggest impression on Ben. He also enjoyed accumulating his usual collection of sticks, acorns, pinecones and feathers (some striking pheasant tail feathers which he described as being “like Cheetahs”).

Alerted by the whirr and clap of their wingbeats we watched two swans take off and then circle the large pond below Haverbrack. After climbing through the woods, we stopped for a snack at the top of Haverbrack bank. It’s only 110m, but it has a view out of all proportion to its modest size. Milnthorpe Sands and the Kent Estuary lead the eye northward and into the Lyth valley and the fells beyond.

In the woods near Sandside we stopped to watch as four Great Tits burst through the branches beside us. They tumbled and chased in close pursuit of each other, when it seemed that one of the birds had fallen from a branch into the leaf litter below. A confusing flurry of yellow, blue and black and of wings, legs, backs etc made me think that the bird was injured, but then I realised that in fact all four birds were on the floor, and they appeared to be fighting each other. Soon they were airborne again and squabbling noisily whilst slaloming amongst the trees.

By the weir on the Bela, Amy and I stopped to count the ducks, swans and geese. Amy told me: “Dad, this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”.

Back in the Deer Park, a pair of Goosanders and some Tufted Ducks stayed well downstream of the Mallard mob.

Entering the woods on Haverbrack bank.

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Fighting Tits

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