A while ago I stumbled across a page for a place called Burtonwood Nature Park on Facebook. The photos on the page looked amazing, with loads of different bird species present on site. I bookmarked it sometime earlier this year and resolved to visit.
I finally made it during the last week in November. The site is a small nature reserve, looked after by volunteers who have set up feeding stations and hides from which to photograph the birds.
I made my way to a hide within the woodland and settled in. Before long the first birds appeared, as well as the perches set up around the hides there are plenty of trees for the birds to perch in.
I was particularly happy to see Chaffinches and to be able to photograph them close up for the first time – they aren’t a visitor to our garden, sadly.
And also Coal Tits. These tiny birds are a frequent visitor to the garden, but they are so fast I am never able to photograph them there. One moment they are on the feeder, and within an instant they are gone – normally before I even get a chance to focus my camera! Here I was able to capture them perching on the surrounding branches before and after visiting the feeder.
I’ve always been intrigued by this behaviour which I’ve seen being performed by both Coal Tits and Blue Tits, where they retreat to nearby branches to eat a seed plucked from the feeder rather than swallowing it down straight away. They often seem to hold the food between their feet and eat it in small bits.
I was also thrilled to see Tree Sparrows for the first time. Their House Sparrow cousins are frequent visitors to the garden and are one of my favourite birds.
While I was concentrating mainly on the bird activity in the trees around the hide, there was plenty of activity on the feeding station itself and on the woodland floor.
But the biggest treat was still to come – a Greater Spotted Woodpecker made multiple visits.
All in all I had a wonderful couple of hours here and will definitely be visiting again.
For more details about Burtonwood Nature Park, visit their Facebook page here.