I read somewhere that a couple of female Bearded Tits showed up in Hyde Park during the snowy spell. I wondered which of the few tiny patches of Phragmites the birds had chosen to settle in, and how on earth they had managed to find it. With sunshine forecast for Sunday, and no desperately urgent work to finish, I decided to go up for the day. I had a very relaxed attitude towards the Beardies - I didn't check before I left that they were still there, and I didn't head for the reeds straight away but spent a good three hours photographing various other things first.
I went over to the area where I've seen people hand-feeding assorted little birds, by a fenced-off area of woodland. This involved traversing some serious mud but it was worth it. Waiting in the trees were various songbirds, eyeing me with interest as I got my sunflower hearts out.
OK, time for the Beardies. As I got near the reedbed I could see half-a-dozen birders pointing big lenses reedwards. Also, there was Jim, and Becca, who greeted me warmly and passed on the encouraging news that they had already enjoyed good views of the birds. It wasn't long before I got my first glimpse of the two little birds as they nipped along the base of the bed. I stayed there a couple of hours and eventually the girls both showed beautifully. They are sporting BTO rings, which I've learned were acquired when they were at RSPB Rye Meads in November last year. So they haven't come that far, but it's still mind-boggling that they managed to locate this tiny reedbed in the middle of the concrete sprawl of London. I suppose they saw the water (the Serpentine is pretty huge) and took it from there. Despite it being a windy day, they were climbing to the tops of the reeds, and also at one point came down to ground level to drink. They are the first Beardies ever known to have visited inner London, and their showiness has been appreciated by many a non-birder (LOADS of people stopped and asked about the birds) as well as those of us who came especially to see them. I took huge quantities of photos, here's a few that I like, plus one not so good one but it shows the two birds together.