Thursday, 11 February 2010

Treecreeper on peanut feeder

Now wouldn’t that be unusual? Last Saturday, towards the end of the day we did actually see this… although not in my garden! We were at SWT Reserve Loch of the Lowes sitting inside with coffees/hot choc watching through the observation window out to their feeder area.

Being late in getting there we knew we wouldn’t see a great variety of birds. The light was going and photos and video were unlikely to give great pictures. I took my cameras anyway. We had popped out more for the run in the car as my daughter was/is studying for exams.

Treecreepers were what I had hoped to see at that time of day. I have seen them then before. It is fun to watch out for them in the fading light. ‘An inconspicuous, mouse like bird’ is a great description.

Shuffling jerkily up and round tree trunks in search of insects and spiders with camouflaged mottled underparts even with good light they are difficult to spot, photograph or video. I have tried to follow them up the trees on a previous visit.

As we arrived, two Treecreepers had been spotted visiting a peanut feeder in one area. I decided to take a gamble and sit with my camera on its tripod watching another peanut feeder as in previous visits I had seen Treecreepers on the trees nearby. Of course, I watched the tree too :-)

A second coffee was required. With the record button pressed and camera running, it was just a waiting game for the Treecreeper to arrive on the peanut feeder. I was patient though (as was my daughter) and once the Treecreeper was spotted on the tree trunk we sat still willing it to go to the peanut feeder.

The title of this post tells you that we were lucky. At a guess, watching the video capture below, two Treecreepers visited the peanut feeder when I was filming. However, I was particularly lucky with this piece of footage.

When the second Treecreeper was on the feeder a Blue tit joined it and if you watch the film you’ll see some interesting behaviour from the Treecreeper. It looked like it has trying to hide itself against the tree trunk close to the feeder. I didn’t notice that at all when I watched it from the Centre. These extras are often the case with video captures and it was a delight to discover this when I went to edit my footage.

Not everyone can view my videos, I understand this. So, for anyone with this problem and for my parents who read printed copies of my blog I have some pictures below. I have to stress these images are not photographs but screen grabs from my low light video capture. However although very grainy, lightened a little, they capture the moment well enough.




Notice the Treecreeper pushes itself away
from the feeder to the safety of the tree.


Notice the giant (compared to its body)
clawed feet of the Treecreeper.


Notice the very white underparts.
Very clean for being so close to tree trunks most of the time.


Notice the elegant profile of the Treecreeper.
Notice its long curved bill for probing tree bark for insects.
Notice its stiff tail too which it uses to provide
a prop when climbing just like the Woodpecker.


Other birds seen at this later hour were the coal tits and robins. We also spotted a mouse in a branch pile below a feeder close to the window. There was also a late surprise visitor too… a Jay.

The outline of the Jay could be seen as it flew through the woodland. I didn’t get footage of it on the feeder it visited. However, on looking through my video above I think it is perhaps possible it landed on the ground behind the peanut feeder. I noticed a flash of brown and blue a minute into my video just before the blue tit returns. It just shows what we can miss when watching something else.

It’s another cold and frosty morning here today in my garden. The birds are busy at the feeders. Starlings are arriving in bigger groups at the moment. However we are lucky to have sunshine and blue skies… so I’ll forgive the cold. Although are other parts of the UK may be seeing snow today and breakfast television this morning showed images from a very wintery Washington. Gosh it looks really wild there!

Wishing you a great weekend and that the winter weather eases off for you if you are having a wild time of it. Stay safe and warm :-D


The video above was taken at SWT Loch of the Lowes on February 6th 2010 and the still images were taken from it.

14 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Your tree creeper appears larger than our tree creeper. At least our tree creeper is smaller than the our chickadee (tit). Wonderful photos showing the action.

ShySongbird said...

I really enjoyed that Shirl! I would sooo! like to see one myself. I had an email from a friend, who lives quite near, the other day, to say he had seen a Treecreeper in his garden. It is not long since he saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch, that is all three of my 'most wanted birds'!! Of course I wasn't even a little bit green with envy :)

You certainly had a rewarding visit and it was great that you managed to get video footage, yes they do have big feet!

I hope you don't get any more snow, we have had another dusting with the possibility of more to come :(

Have a great, warm and safe weekend Shirl :)

Midmarsh John said...

Fabulous video clip Shirl. Not only did the Tree Creeper hide from the Blue Tit but as soon as it had gone it went straight to the position the Blue Tit had been feeding.

Miranda Bell said...

Hi Shirl - some fantastic footage of a very shy little bird with big feet!! I've seen a Treecreeper here scouting around for insects I reckon at the base of the trunk and upwards too on our Walnut Tree - but they're too far away for my camera :-( I'm hoping to be able to get something with a better zoom this year... any suggestions on what I should go for? It's been snowing on and off all day here today and plenty of bird life in our garden - do read the story which I posted yesterday - I think you'll like that one!! Miranda x

shirl said...

Hi there Lisa, yes if your Treecreeper is smaller than your chickadee then ours is larger. Our Treecreeper is 5in in length and our Blue and Coal tits are 4½ins in length.

Thanks, although grainy I was pleased with the photos. Glad you liked them. Screen grabs are quite tricky to take at exactly the right point. I had quite a few tries :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Jan, excellent! I’m delighted I could share this one. They are fun to watch. Perhaps you’ll get a sighting yourself on a woodland walk this year :-D

LOL… no, green you’d never be ;-) Mm… perhaps they will find there way to your garden yet. Now… I wonder if you have a peanut feeder up near an old tree perhaps :-)

We did have a good visit thanks. We knew it would be a quiet time so I was thrilled to capture a view of this bird that we had never seen before. If only it had appeared a little later when the outside lighting was on this feeder. Still very happy with the footage we got. Yep… almost ungainly feet for such an elegant little bird don’t you think?

Had the Aberdeen trek/drive again tonight and no new snowfall up there or here so hopefully we won’t get any over the weekend.

Thanks, wishing you a great, warm and safe weekend too :-D

shirl said...

Hi again John, thanks! What a treat it was to see something different :-)

Now, I never noticed that it followed the blue tit. Video is a great way to capture the behaviour of birds as you know yourself. It picks up all sorts that we never normally notice too.

Oh Congrats on your Stock dove… great photos too :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Miranda , glad you caught this posting too. Yes, having a woodland with mature trees must be a huge bonus to birds and wildlife sightings for you :-)

I’m not really the best one to advise on the best lens. Perhaps Mike at Fen Photography would be a better bet. You can see the lens I use here.

I see snow pics on your blog with all your bird sightings too – great stuff. Well, photo opps anyway!

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Blue tit story on my phone earlier today when I was out. It was late before I got on the PC tonight and I wanted to catch up on comment replies. I’ll be by your blog again tomorrow. I’m so glad you spotted the blue tit when you did.

Now... it's 1.20am... I really should switch this off and get some sleep!

Wishing you a great weekend :-D

Shady Gardener said...

We see a "brown creeper" here in Iowa/USA. It actually creeps head-down. I've only seen them a couple of times, but my Aunt has one that resides in her yard every Winter. :-)

sweet bay said...

The Tree Creeper's tongue is amazing! We get Tree Creepers here too, in the winter. I love to watch them. They breed in the mountains of our state. Your Tree Creeper looks like a cross between our Tree Creeper and Carolina Wren.

shirl said...

Hi again Shady, thanks for telling us about your brown creeper. It seems very strange to think of it creeping head down but ours must seem strange to you too ;-)

Which ever way up they are definitely tricky to spot aren’t they? That’s brilliant that one spends the winter in your Aunt’s garden. I’m guessing she’s thrilled to see it :-D

shirl said...

Hi again Sweet Bay, gosh you’re doing well to see it ;-)

Now, there’s a thing… I never thought of the Treecreeper being a seasonal visitor. Shady above mentions this too. I’m sure I’ve seen the ones at this Reserve all year round.

They are fun to watch. Interesting that they breed in mountains with you where I guess they are more associated with woodlands here.

We have purpose built Treecreeper boxes available in the UK which are wedge shaped and have unique triangular entrance holes. Generally they will be put up on tree trunks. I wonder how successful they are in gardens. I guess you’d need a mature tree to attract them though.

I always find it fascinating to hear of comparisons in our visiting birds. I see that the name is shown differently too. I noticed that all the comments from the US refer to this bird as Tree creeper where here in the UK and Europe we have it as Treecreeper :-)

Juliet said...

Hi Shirl, I am sorry for the lack of comments lately - I have been having trouble keeping up with all the blogs I read. I've enjoyed seeing your tree sparrows and blackcaps and ... were there fieldfares too, or did I imagine them? ... over the last few weeks, but I got to the relevant posts a bit too late to say so! The tree creeper is lovely to see as well - wouldn't it be great to have one visiting your garden?

Just for once, and entirely due to the weather, which was bright but snowy here, and to your late time-slot, I actually managed to see more birds than you did in my birdwatch this year! Not the redwings though, because they chose to make their annual one-day-only visit on the Monday ... ::)

Anyway, now I've finally caught up with your posts, I'm going to pop back and leave a comment on the one about video editing, if I can find it again! WV, very relevantly, says "onvid" :)

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

They are both adorable!