Sunday, 30 January 2011

Great garden birdwatch...

It’s all in the taking part and this weekend I took part in the RSPB’s Great Garden Birdwatch.

All I had to do was spend an hour watching the birds that came to my garden over a one hour period and simply record the highest number of each bird species I saw the garden at any one time. Couldn’t be easier really.

I loaded up the bird feeding station with all sorts of delicacies on Friday night when we arrived in Wales, using a torch so that I could see what I was doing. I hung, scattered, and filled dishes with fat balls, peanuts, sunflower seeds, suet, mixed seed, mealy worms, breadcrumbs, rice, niger for the goldfinches, sliced apples, dried cranberries, and some crushed digestives. If that didn’t bring them flocking then I didn’t know what would.

I set the alarm for seven o’clock – I wanted to be sure to get the early bird, you know the one that catches the worm and at nine o’clock I was sat in front of my kitchen window with my pen and paper ready to start recording (well it was a frosty morning and the bed was very snug).

The birds soon began to arrive. Our duelling robins led the way, followed by the marauding starlings that constantly dive bomb the feeders, squawking and flapping and fighting over the bacon rinds. Blue and coal tits flew to and fro and a pair of great tits appeared once or twice. A male and female chaffinch pecked seed from the drive, whilst dunlins, blackbirds and sparrows hopped around picking up the seed that the starlings had greedily grabbed and then lazily dropped.

By five to ten I’d seen (at any one time together) 3 very territorial robins, 3 blackbirds (2 males and a female), 6 mixed starlings (2 iridescent adults and 4 plainer younger birds), a pair of chaffinches, 5 tiny blue tits, 2 coal tits, 3 dunnocks, 4 house sparrows, a pair of collared doves for a couple of minutes, 2 great tits, a magpie, a wood pigeon, a jackdaw, a brambling, and with 2 minutes to spare a single goldfinch turned up to feast on the niger seed. Hurrah!

Not bad. It would have been nice if the group of long tailed tits we see sometimes had dropped in, and a miracle if our Christmas day nuthatch had shown his beak. Funnily enough 2 long tailed tits did arrive about an 3 hours later, but even so not bad, not bad at all.

We’ve fed the bids right through this bitter winter. It has cost a fortune, but I’m pretty sure that the birds I saw my Great Garden Birdwatch hour are the same ones that have been constant visitors since last October, well as sure as I can be. Let’s hope I’m not alone and that that bird numbers haven’t dropped too much when the results are in.


  1. Jake did the garden watch again this year. We get mostly tits at our feeders, with the occasional bull and green finch. We never see starlings though.

  2. We took part in that but you did better than we did.
    We had some blue tits and our robin, a couple of blackbirds and lots of sparrows.
    Oh, and some mallards that waddled in from the stream and ate all the bread.