For more than 30 years the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has organised a Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place over a weekend at the end of January. Millions of people take part and the idea is to watch birds in your garden (or local park, school) for an hour and record the highest number of birds of each species seen during that time.
The RSPB uses the results to check population trends and make conservation decisions and, by comparing results with previous years, they can spot if any species are decreasing.
Its good fun and a great way to involve children in a natural history project - mine used to love it when they were younger!
So what did I see on this cold and frosty morning?
House Sparrow 6
Wood Pigeon 2
Blue Tit 3
Great Tit 2
Long-tailed Tit 1 (not sure where the rest of the flock were!)
Carrion Crow 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
In the past I've seen more species than this but so far this year only 16 species have visited the garden. The mild weather in January and plentiful food in the countryside (seeds, berries, etc.) has meant that many species have not needed to enter towns in the search for food. Perhaps the predicted cold spell may change that?
I was watching the garden mid-morning so along with a cup of coffee I finished off the remains of this Chocolate and Banana Cake I made yesterday. The cake is scrumptious and well worth the effort (and expense!) - if you fancy baking it yourself check out the BBC Good Food website!