Seven Coal Tits around a peanut feeder in west Limerick ©Andrew Holmes
Larger than normal numbers of Coal Tits have been reported from a number of areas through out the County this winter. A similar pattern has been noted elsewhere in the Country as well, following on from reports last autumn of exceptional numbers at coastal areas in the south west. Most interestingly an influx of Irish Coal Tits was also noted on the Scilly Isles off Cornwall in the late autumn, suggesting that the eruption originated in Ireland. The Irish Coal Tit is a distinct sub-species, Parus ater hibernicus, and can be distinguished from the British sub-species, Parus ater britannicus, by the yellowish tone on its cheeks, brest and belly. The Coal Tit is one of only four native bird species with distinct Irish sub-species; the others being Jay, Dipper and Red Grouse.