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Sunday, 10 March 2013

A Return To Cannock Chase - On 1st February, 2013

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
I'm looking forward to my next visit here - hopefully with brighter weather, and more time to hang around.!

36 comments:

  1. Holy cow...erm...bird! These are astonishingly good, Richard! The bullfinch is spectacular. Don't think we have those. And your robin is so much cuter than our American Robin. Wow, these put my bird photos to shame! Seriously!

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    1. Thank you, Gail, for your kind words. Don't underrate your own photographic skills!

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  2. Although I always enjoy your owl blogs, I really enjoyed your pictures of the birds that fill my days and got me so excited about birding. From Findlay

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    1. Thank you, Findlay, for your encouragement. Hoping to see more from you soon?

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  3. What an amazing place to visit,tried to pick out a winner,it took two or three looks,
    and i chose the male bullfinch.
    Stunning images all a round.
    John.

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    1. Thank you John. It certainly is a great place to go if you need a quick photographic fix, but avoid weekends and school holidays! The birds are so used to people that you don't even have to hide inside your car. However, if I'm on my own, I usually sit in my hide - purely for comfort!

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  4. Wow you managed to see s much and take amazing photos as well. I have never seen a Bullfinch, a Long-tailed Tit or a Willow Tit so I am extremely jealous. The deer are also excellent. Have a good week Diane

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    1. Thank you Diane. I am sure that, with the exception of the Willow Tit, these birds are there in the Charente. I hope that you find them soon!

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  5. Brilliant set of images Richard....hard to select a favourite, but love the top Bullfinch, the first Willow Tit, and the Coal Tit....all a delight to view.

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    1. Thank you Pete, for you kind words. - Sorry, have only just noticed that I didn't reply to your comment earlier. Don't know how that happened!

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  6. Wow those Bullies are crackers Richard great quality. I have to fully agree about the Blue Tit, it's a sad day when people walk pass these little gems.
    p.s. you need to give your wife a camera so we can see what's on the other side of the car too lol

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    1. Thanks Doug.

      Gave my wife a camera for her birthday last July. I don't think she's taken it out of the house more than four times since, and then she either forgets to use it, or forgets HOW to use it!!!

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  7. Wow, gorgeous birds and photos! Way too hard to pick a favorite, they are all awesome photos.

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  8. Lovely photos!
    You are clever!

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    1. Thank you Hans - "lucky" is probably nearer the truth!

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  9. Richard, looks like you'll be returning to this spot again! Very nice photos and nice variety!

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    1. Thank you Wally. All things being equal, I'll be back!

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  10. Marvellous shots Richard! I just love the Long-tailed Tit.

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    1. Thank you Karen. We occasionally get the L-t tits in our garden, and I always get excited when I see them!

      I hope that you quickly recover from your injuries!

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  11. Wonderful photos - and for someone living on the other side of the world they all look so exotic!

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    1. Thank you Mick. Believe me - if you think our birds look exotic to you, to us your's are unbelievably so!

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  12. Such beautiful colours!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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    1. Thank you Gary. Just been looking at your Otter images - wonderful!

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  13. All just wonderful birds (and beasts)...beautiful pictures. The only one I've seen ever is the nuthatch (we have the American Robin, a totally different bird of course)...and I don't think the rest of those birds are anywhere over on this side of the pond..but I'm not positive..

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    1. Thank you Sallie. Our Nuthatches, although similar to your Red-breasted Nuthatch, are a totally different species. So I don't think any of these birds can be seen over your side of the pond!

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  14. Beautiful birds, and awesome photos! Your birds are so different from what we have in the Ozarks, but I can tell some of the family lines even if the coloration is different!

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    1. Thank you. Yes, with many of these you can certainly see family similarities with some of your birds. Your Bushtits (for example), although less colorful, look a little like - and behave very similarly to - our Long-tailed Tits.

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  15. Oh My Goodness, you always do such a fine job! Those Long tailed Coal-tits, always make me so happy, what sweet looking birds, gentle faces,tiny little bright eyes, and the Robins that you share from your side of the Big Pond, always so charming as well~

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    1. Thank you Mary. I am very impressed by the birds on your own recent post!

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  16. Excuse me while I just pop out for a home-sickness treatment! Great set of birds!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thank you Stewart. Any plans to visit the old home country? Keep up the good work!

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  17. Tremendous photos Richard.....Superb colours, sharp and excellent composition. Truly professional quality and more than comparable to those seen in Wildlife Mags.
    Regards Keith

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    1. Thank you, Keith, for your very kind words!

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  18. Oh dear, i do feel like Stewart. Surrounded by parrots, I so miss your bullfinches, tits and friendly robins.
    My heart aches to see them all in the flesh again yet your splendid photos partly fill the void. Thanks.

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    1. I'm sorry if my photos make you homesick, Arija, but pleased that they help you re-live the memories. With all that wildlife out there, I'm surprised that you have a void to fill!!

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