Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big Garden Birdwatch 2010 (continued)

I have just submitted my results for the Big Garden Birdwatch for 2010.

I had been planning on doing the count yesterday but Ron was working on the roof of his garage which is located at the rear of our garden. Too much disturbance was going to have an affect on the birds, plus the fact that I did not fancy sitting behind the patio doors with my pen, paper and cup of tea, staring up the garden while Ron was there. It would I presumed appear to him as though I was watching his DIY antics and taking notes. I therefore decided to postpone the count until today.

During the night we had a few falls of snow plus freezing temperatures, so first thing this morning it was a case of thawing out the bird bath then topping up the food supplies for our feathered friends. I then settled down to watch the bird activity for the stated period of one hour.

The severity of the cold weather conditions I am certain were a major factor in the numbers of birds that suddenly appeared enmasse. Remember, the aim of this birdwatch count is to record the highest number of each bird species seen at any one time, not a total of all the birds you see in the hour long period.

My record:
House Sparrow = 15
Starling = 20
Blackbird = 3
Collared Doves = 2
Woodpigeon = 4
Robin = 1
Dunnock = 1
Wren = 1

It is not every day that we see 20 Starlings or 15 House Sparrows converge on the garden at the same time, but I guess that is just the way things happen. No species of tits were seen during the count, they spend much less time in the garden. You have to be there watching out just at the right time to see them. Most tit species have a daily route that they follow in their search for food.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Big Garden Birdwatch 2010

Do not forget, for those of you living in the UK, that the Big Garden Birdwatch takes place this weekend, that is 30th and 31st January. It is organised by the RSPB but you do not have to be a member to take part.

All you need to do is to record the highest number of each species of bird seen in your garden, or local park (but not flying over) at any one time, during a one hour period on either Saturday 30 or Sunday 31 January 2010. It can be any one hour period, when you decide to do it is entirely your choice.

It really is that easy. You can download a recording sheet to help you identify and record your birds as you see them, don't send this in, it is just for your own use, or simply record your tally on a scrap of paper. When your survey is complete submit your results on the website.

For full details, tips, to download a recording sheet and /or summit your results go to:

I have taken part in this count for the last two years and will be doing my count tomorrow, it is surprising how quickly the hour goes.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Fieldfare | a bird new to my Garden

It is always exciting to spot a bird that you have not seen before. Today I saw a Fieldfare, a species of bird new to my Garden. And not just one, but upwards of 25 in total, they have been around for most of the day. I did not identify them as being Fieldfares when first seen this morning, I merely thought they were Starlings that appeared different because of the way the sun was shining brightly upon them, I only gave them a cursory glance. This afternoon I took notice of them when I could see that these birds still hanging around in the trees were definitely not starlings. I quickly fetched the binoculars and guessed that they were Fieldfares, this was confirmed by looking in the bird book.

Unfortunately they did not actually come into our garden but stayed in and around the neighbouring trees. We spied a few of them looking for berries in Rons Holly bush but there is little left for the Fieldfare, the other birds have eaten them all.

The Fieldfare is a very attractive bird with it's rich chestnut back and wings, grey head and rump, heavily spotted yellow orange breast and black tail and wings. They also have black or dark streaks on the head, with the bins these birds appeared to have a dark streak that went through the eye. when in flight the Fieldfare is also noticeable by the very light underside of the wings and lower part of the breast.

The pictures I am afraid are not of very good quality because I was too far away and at the limit of my zoom.
I say however that I was very pleased indeed to have seen these winter visitors, The Fieldfare, a new bird to my garden.