Run by the RSPB, The Big Garden Birdwatch takes places over 3 days between 27th-29th January. It is a chance for everyone to go outside and watch the birds for 1 hour, counting the largest number of bird species seen at one time.
I got up early on Monday the last day of The Big Garden Birdwatch count. I got my wildlife camera, binoculars and spotting scope and was ready to step out of the door; when…..it absolutely poured it down with rain. Why on earth did I not do the count on Sunday I grumbled to myself as I checked the weather app on my phone? It gave rain all morning but it was meant to stop at lunchtime….phew!
At 12pm the rain stopped and I ran outside to take part in the bird count. I was hoping that maybe this year I would see starlings as they returned to the garden last year for the first time in many years. I hoped the woodpecker would turn up as I know it is always in the garden pecking away at an elderly plum tree. I also wondered if there may be any surprise visits too, as you never know what will turn up in the garden when you are least expecting it.
There are so many feeders in the garden all dotted about in various places which makes it a challenge to try and count the birds. I managed to set up my spotting scope behind a shed where I could get a view of at least most of the feeders; but I still felt like I needed eyes in the back of my head as I turned this way and that watching the birds. I put my wildlife camera on a tree next to a feeder at the bottom of the garden, then I sat behind the shed and waited.
During the hour that I was outside, the weather was cloudy with some sunny spells but an icy wind. Counting started immediately as most of the birds here are used to my presence. Many robins sang loudly on the top of the hedges trying to mark their boundary. They must be quite tolerant robins here as I have seen 3 pairs but today for the count I just saw 2 pairs. Whilst I was trying to count the sparrow in the hedge, I saw 2 male blackbirds fighting on the lawn whilst a female blackbird watched close by. The poor loser sat hiding in the hedge afterwards looking sorry for himself.
I saw a blackcap for the first time in the garden, it was feeding on the coconut fat feeder at the bottom of the garden and a few yards away from me a tiny little goldcrest flew down and had a little bath in the pond before flying up the hobnut tree above, shaking itself off and flying off.
It’s a shame the woodpecker didn’t make an appearance in that hour, but glad in a way that I didn’t see the sparrowhawk as all the other birds would have hidden like last year.
All in all, it was a good year for spotting birds and a lot better than last year. It’s great to see the difference each year I do the count and it always nice to say hello to new species too.
My Bird Count 2018:
7 blackbirds 2 long tailed tits 5 dunnocks 12 sparrows 2 greenfinches
7 chaffinches 1 moorhen 2 rooks 3 jackdaws 1 blackcap
2 seagulls 4 wood pigeons 7 bluetits 2 great tits 2 collared doves
1 wren 4 robins 1 goldcrests