I’ve been looking forward to the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch since I got my pack through the post in early January. I had it all planned out in my head of how the day was going to unfold and as the weekend drew closer I excitedly got my spotting scope, binoculars, camera, notepad and pen out ready.
Unfortunately, the weather had other plans and it decided that this was the weekend it was going to be cold and raining. To top it all off, I also fell ill with a cold. Luckily this year RSPB have added an extra date, so I had my fingers crossed for Monday.
Well… Monday has come and I’m thankfully feeling much better today, and as I opened the curtains to a dull and damp morning, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me counting those garden birds.
I set up my spotting scope in the corner of the garden where I was well hidden and could see a number of the feeders. As I was setting up I saw a cheeky magpie eyeing up the suet feeder in one of the trees, but then it saw me and flew off.
At 10.30am with wooly hat, gloves and downy jacket, I sat down and waited for the birds to appear.
I could hear the birds tweeting away but it took a good 10 minutes before they started to appear in view. The first to venture out was 2 blackbirds, followed by blue tits and great tits. It was hard to keep an eye on all the feeders at once, so I decided to concentrate on one feeder at a time. I have noticed that certain birds stick to certain parts of the garden, so I first watched the sparrow feeders. They were so quick darting from the feeder to the hedge and back but I managed to count a group of 8 jostling for room on 2 feeders.
I then turned my attention to one of the finch feeders hanging from a rowan tree. I was delighted to see chaffinches and green finches on the feeder and a wood pigeon sat in the tree.
From my view point I could just make out a bird table towards the front of the garden. Here there were rooks, jackdaws, pigeons, and a seagull.
As I moved my spotting scope around so that I could see the back part of the garden, I caught a glimpse of a little wren hopping along the fence and a robin singing merrily sat on a branch of the hobnut tree.
At the next feeder I was busy watching the blue tits, great tits and even a cute coal tit. Then excitingly I saw 5 long tailed tits fly into the garden and land in an apple tree, before moving to the peanut feeder.
I even saw a jay on the compost heap in the garden, but I had to stay very still as they are easily spooked……but then it went very quiet. All the birds disappeared and you could have heard a pin drop.
…..Then whoosh…out from one of the fruit trees a sparrow hawk came flying past me like a fighter jet plane. It was amazing to feel the energy as it flew past, though it was so quick it was almost a blur.
Of course, that was the end of my Big Garden Birdwatch after only 40 minutes; as although I could hear the chattering of birds from the hedges, none would venture out again till they felt safe.