"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 26 January 2014

RSPB Garden Birdwatch

Its the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - the largest garden wildlife survey in the world when people spend an hour counting birds in their gardens and submitting the results to the RSPB.

Last year almost 600,000 people participated recording more than 9 million birds in 290,000 gardens.

I spent an hour yesterday morning counting birds in my garden - thank goodness I didn't leave it until the afternoon when we had hail, thunder and lightning!

I managed to see 12 species (a bit lower than usual - 14 species is about the average count). Everyone always comments how species seem to stay away during the hour they are watching and then maddenly re-appear 5 minutes after the survey has finished!!!!! but I was lucky yesterday in that the female Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker both made an appearance.

This is what I spotted during the hour:

Blackbird x 1

Great Spotted Woodpecker x 1

Blue Tit x 3

Wood Pigeon x 3

House Sparrow x 3

Robin x 2

Dunnock x 1

Great Tit x 1

Goldfinch x 1

Blackcap x 1

Magpie x 1

Carrion Crow x 1

Its a great way to spend an hour, especially if you have young children, helping science and having fun at the same time!



House Sparrow


Blue Tit

Great Spotted Woodpecker

(Some of the photos above are archive garden bird photos - the light was awful yesterday for photography)


SeagullSuzie said...

Oh you saw so many birds-the weather kept them all away here, not one little bird came out to count!

Countryside Tales said...

Envious of your goldfinch. I checked my records for last year and we had them in the garden then, but so far no show this year.
Have you seen the petition by the league of cruel sports for wildlife snares? There's a link to it on Suzie's blog at Beautiful Brixham :-)

Em Parkinson said...

I really enjoyed doing it this afternoon....similar results to you minus the Blackcap and plus a Nuthatch!

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - I think I was really lucky with the weather here - picked about the only time its been dry! Zero counts are just as important though. Hope weather improves for you soon.

Countryside Tales - We get goldfinches all year but this autumn and winter numbers have been much lower than usual - perhaps there's plenty of natural food about?

Thanks for info re: petition. I've signed it - only hope its not one I've already done!!!

Em Parkinson - It is good fun - think I would definitely swap the Blackcap for the Nuthatch (never had a Nuthatch here!!)

Toffeeapple said...

Lucky thing, all I saw was a cloud burst, some hailstones and, eventually, a rainbow. Not a single bird.

Wendy said...

Lovely photos and fascinating to read what you saw. That is so interesting about your blackcap, I don't expect to see any here until the spring. I envy you your sparrows, too.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple I think I was just lucky with the timing - weather not good most of the weekend :( Zero counts just as important though for RSPB :)

Wendy - Thank you. Blackcaps have taken to overwintering in recent years although I think from memory the ones seen come from Europe to overwinter here and are not the same ones as we see in the summer :) Ours still migrate.

We don't get as many house sparrows as we used too and I only get a few garden sightings of starling a year :( As for Tree Sparrows I can't remember when I last saw one locally :(

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi RR. ell done. You managed to see quite a lot of birds in your hour and great to see the woodpecker.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson Many thanks Margaret :)

Tom Young said...

What a great list ! The weather was dreadful by the time I got around to being able to do it - woodpigeons, blackbirds, dunnock, robin and a couple of tits! Lovely photos of feeding birds too :)

Ragged Robin said...

Tom Young Thanks so much for your comment :) I think a lot of people had trouble with the weather :( and there's always some regulars that fail to turn up in the hour!! For me it was LTT's this year!

David Turner said...

A good list RR and some great pics too. Our garden Goldfinches typically failed to turn up during the hour :-(

By the way I also experienced the same storm near Loughborough last week with torrential rain, thunder right overhead and even some mammatus cloud formations, clouds I've not often seen in the UK !

Ragged Robin said...

David Turner - Many thanks David. Here it was the LTT's that failed to turn up :(

Gosh I would have loved to see those mammatus cloud formations - I don't think I've ever seen any though I have seen pictures of them.