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1999: Marsh Tit, Fonthill Lake

Marsh Tit

Moving on to September 3 ten years ago:

“It has long been a problem to find a decent stopping point between Bristol and Winchester. Basically south Wiltshire is a desert of agri-business. One even has to search out wild areas of Salisbury Plain.

“However, by struggling through such interesting gems as Norton Radstock and Frome, one can eventually get south of the A303. Here lies Fonthill Lake — a tree-bordered oasis. I could tell it was going to be good with the first few goldcrests and chiffchaffs.

“The lake itself held a good variety: shoveler; teal; little grebe; and pochard among the usual suspects [some phrases don’t change over the years!] The woodland provided more chiffchaffs, willow warblers (obvious from their yellow underparts), various tits and more than one treecreeper amazingly. All this took quite a while and the consumption of several Ryvita to track down. So, I had not actually gone far before I heard that familiar, exciting sneeze of a marsh tit.

“It is one of those sounds that can be so frustrating. You know the bird is there. You know what it is. But can you see it? Can you, hell?

“This time I struck lucky and located the marsh tit within a minute, after being fooled by one coal tit. It continued to show well for several minutes, i.e. a whole Ryvita, before I decided that my journey should not be delayed any longer.

“A good start to September.”

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