Birdlife in an Old Oak
By Ian Bushell
I nipped up to the park this morning to see how the contractor was getting on with the chestnut fencing around the Oak we have been clearing in the Arboretum, near the entrance. Spring is just around the corner and some of the lives that the old Oak supports were evident.
As I stood by the tree, there was a flash and a pair of Tree Creepers appeared on the trunk, going up and searching cracks in the bark for little invertebrates. Tree Creepers always work their way up, and when they get to the top they fly down and start again – Nuthatches do it the other way round.
Then another little bird appeared and I realised it was a Goldcrest, the smallest bird on our species list. Beautiful – very quick and agile. At the same time one of the Tree Creepers flew off but the other went higher up the Oak to an outer branch, continuing to feed. Up there, right at the top of the tree there were a Great Tit and a Blue Tit feeding. It was a fascinating ten minutes watching this unfold – an old oak is a whole ecosystem.
 tree creeper, going up;  blue tit;  great tit; [header] goldcrest (CC0).