With its bridled face markings and black and white upstanding crest, the crested tit is easy to distinguish. It is largely confined to ancient Caledonian pine forests and Scots pine plantations. It makes a nest in a hole in rotting stumps. This bird often feeds low down in trees, but although not shy, it is not always easily approached. It will join winter tit flocks with other species. Like other tits it is found in pairs and it feeds on insects, including caterpillars and seeds. 3.5cm x 8cm
The Fire crest is greenish above and has whitish underparts, two white wingbars, a black eye stripe and a white supercilium, superficially it resembles the goldcrest. The head crest, orange in the male and yellow in the female, is displayed during breeding, The male sings during the breeding season, often with its crest raised, and has a display which involves pointing its bill at another bird, showing the crest and strong face pattern. Spending much time in the tree canopy, the firecrest feeds in trees, exploiting mainly the upper surface of branches in coniferous habitat and of leaves in deciduous trees. Their thin beak is ideally suited for picking insects out from between pine needles.
3.5cm x 7cm
The goldcrest has greenish upper-parts, whitish under-parts, and has two white wingbars. It has a plain face contrasting black irises and a bright head crest, orange and yellow in the male and yellow in the female, which is displayed during breeding. The goldcrest breeds in coniferous woodland and gardens, building its compact, three-layered nest on a tree branch. It takes a wide variety of prey, especially spiders, caterpillars, bugs, springtails and flies. The goldcrest feeds in trees, frequently foraging on the undersides of branches and leaves. This is in contrast to the common firecrest, which mainly exploits the upper surface of branches. Unlike the firecrest, it is a widespread common resident.
3.5cm x 7cm
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER
It is a striking bird with its black and white plumage, a prominent oval-shaped white patch on each wing and a red patch under the tail. With a bouncing flight, it spends much of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches. Its presence can often be heard by the distinctive drumming as it pecks the tree to announce its presence. A nesting hole is bored in soft or decaying wood. It feeds on insects, seeds and nuts. There are widespread sightings throughout Arran but in particular they can be heard drumming around Brodick Counrty Park and in Merkland Wood.
5.5cm x 10.5cm
LONG TAILED TIT
This tiny bird is readily identifiable by its black, white and pink plumage and by its long tail, which is mainly black , edged in white. They are widespread and breed on Arran, mainly feeding on insects, but will occasionally eat seeds in winter. Their oval-shaped nests are skilfully held together with spider webs, camouflaged with lichen and lined with as many as 2000 feathers!
5.5cm x 8cm
A plump short-tailed bird with blue-grey upper plumage, buff underparts and reddish flanks. It has a strong, pointed bill, ideal for hacking open nuts to find the kernel. Nuthatches are omnivorous, eating mostly insects, nuts and seeds. They forage for insects hidden in or under bark by climbing along tree trunks and branches, sometimes upside-down. They are the only bird that can hop down tree trunks as easily as it hops up. They are a rare vagrant to Arran.
3.5cm x 9cm
Studio 4, Lamlash, Isle of Arran, KA27 8LA