It'd been a long while since I had visited Cannock Chase, which is only about 25 miles (40km) from my home, so when my wife suggested we go out for lunch and then continue to the chase to watch the birds for a while, I didn't need much persuading!
We stopped for a very pleasant lunch at The Royal Oak, Kings Bromley, during which I realised a fundamental mistake that I'd made - I'd forgotten to bring bird food with me! Fortunately, the place where I buy all our bird food was en-route, and only two minutes away, so we called in and bought a bag to tide us over.
Having arrived at the usual place, we found that there were only two other cars in the area, and the best spot for parking was still available. I quickly set up some perches (not enough, as it turned out), strategically placed some seed, and settled back in the car to take some photos. Sadly, the promised bright weather never happened, but at least it didn't rain!
This particular spot on the chase is not usually blessed with unusual birds, although I did find a Hawfinch one Christmas Day, reported it on Birdguides, and regretted it ever after as you couldn't get near the place for months (until the bird eventually departed). However, you can pretty much rely on Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, and Nuthatch - and Willow Tit are usually seen if you wait long enough.
We were only there for about 40 minutes, but I took so many photos that, inevitably, the same perch appears several times over. We did see Yellowhammer, but these don't appear below as they stayed on my wife's side of the car!
|Bullfinch (male) - Cannock Chase|
|Bullfinch (female) - Cannock Chase|
The Blue Tit is a bird that tends to suffer from the 'familiarity breeds contempt' syndrome, but has to be one of UK's prettiest birds. For our overseas visitors, who may not be familiar with this bird, here are a couple of them!
|Blue Tit - Cannock Chase|
The other usual tits are very much in evidence here, with Great Tit being by far the most numerous.
|Great Tit - Cannock Chase|
|Coal Tit - Cannock Chase|
|Long-tailed Tit - Cannock Chase|
Luckily, in our short time here, Willow Tit made a couple of brief appearances. These are not the most spectacular of birds, but are always a treat to see.
|Willow Tit - Cannock Chase|
Another iconic British bird which, like Blue Tit, is greatly underrated, is Robin. In gardens it is not uncommon for these to fight to the death in order to keep control of their territory, but in situations like this, where there are large numbers of birds milling around, there can be several together and being quite tolerant of each other.
|Robin - Cannock Chase|
Nuthatches tend to be a feature of this sort of environment, although there weren't as many here as I expected to see.
|Nuthatch - Cannock Chase|
As we left the chase we spotted a group of male Fallow Deer. Whilst some of these had fabulous antlers, there was at least one young buck with just simple prongs, as you can see in the third image below.
|Fallow Deer (male) - Cannock Chase|