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Showing posts with label rspb. Show all posts
Showing posts with label rspb. Show all posts

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Garden Birdwatch

Every January, I take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch organised by the RSPB. You watch the birds in your garden for any 1 hour and note the maximum number of each sort seen in the hour.

This year there were no blackbirds, no tits, no collared doves. In fact there was a real shortage of small birds. I may just have been unlucky or maybe it was the fact that we have had more frosts which have killed off smaller birds? Anyway this year I saw 2 robins, 2 starlings, 3 jackdaws and 4 black headed gulls and nothing else.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

In all, 10 unique bird species seen, but some very commonly seen birds were not seen in the hour from 3pm to 4pm. I twice tried to submit my results to the RSPB, but on both occasions it told me there was an error.  On another page it said I had submitted the results! CRAP.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

RSPB Garden Bird Count

The annual UK RSPB garden bird count is any hour in the last weekend of January. I have been doing this for years. You just choose a spot and count the maximum number of each species seen in the hour. It can be surprising. When done, I submit results to the RSPB online. It is always a great pleasure and you do not need to be an expert birder to do this. Each year, the RSPB get a great deal of data.  Some years I see very little. Some years I have seen up to 11 different species.

Most times you will see quite common birds, but occasionally you may see something unusual. It is the number of the ordinary birds seen that tells the real story.  If you can, grab a coffee and sit down, look out the window, and count the birds in your garden or park.  I am sure, like me, you will enjoy it.

See .

Saturday, 25 July 2015


This evening, in a further attempt to beat my giddiness, I went for a decent (for me!) walk. One of the joys of an English summer evening is seeing swifts on the wing high in the sky and hearing their calls - a high pitched scream. To me, this is the sound of summer. Their wings are scythe like and they spend most of their lives on the wing.

They arrive late (around the end of April) and go before summer is done. It an ephemeral sound that they make. When you hear it, it is truly late spring or summer. Soon the summer migrants will head south to warmer skies and we will be joined by migrants from the north such as whooper and bewick swans from the high Arctic and Russia as well thrushes like redwings and fieldfares from Scandinavia. To them we represent warmth and mildness!

For now I am content to hear those swifts, although they will soon be on their way. Hopefully, I'll still be around for their return in the spring. Seeing the first swifts in late April brings joy to my heart. The cycle of life that has happened for thousands of years goes on. No doubt this cycle went on when we still lived in caves and when Roman soldiers walked these lands and this cycle will still be going on long after I am dust again.

See .

Monday, 18 May 2015


At the home we moved to a couple of years back, just before I was taken seriously ill, we see far fewer smaller birds.  They are around, but don't seem to be attracted to the bird table or nut feeders. We also see no squirrels.  We get a reasonable number of small birds in the garden and nearby such as dunnocks (hedge sparrows), great tits and blue tits, robins etc. Maybe they visit other bird tables or find food naturally very locally?

Our nut feeders seem to attract larger birds in the main like pigeons and collared doves. We have lots of trees and other cover in the garden and nearby.

Every morning at much the same time we get jackdaws on the bird table. We have red legged partridges in the road most days and we have even had mallard ducks in the garden.

See .

Monday, 2 March 2015

Red Legged Partidges,326,936,694)
The image above resides on the RSPB website and not on this blog. The image and link will be immediately removed if this infringes any copyright law or is otherwise a problem to its owner.

When we first moved to our bungalow (19 months ago) we saw 2 red legged partridges regularly in the road and in the garden.Then we saw 3 for a day. After that (for the last 6 months) there has just been 1. Now, today, we have just seen 2 again. I hope it is a male and a female and they stop around and have young!

The red legged partridge is an introduced species, but it is the commonest partridge with 82000 territories. It is a very good looking bird. The ones locally seem quite content.

See red legged partridge RSPB page .

Sunday, 25 January 2015

RSPB bird count - again

I am repeating my 1 hour bird count today, this time at the front of our bungalow overlooking the grass patch, hedges and windmill near our local village museum. I expect to see fewer birds, but it will make an interesting comparison. 

This morning, there was a crow actually on the birdtable and a red-legged partridge underneath.   Both were missing from my count yesterday!

UPDATE 1725z Although there were fewer species spotted at the front (4 rather than 6) the number of starlings was much higher as there is a roost on the windmill sails. I saw 26 unique starlings but had this been an hour later it would probably been 100+.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

RSPB birdcount weekend

Any 1 hour, record max number of each species seen in period. Last year just 1 wood pigeon! At previous house often saw 10-12 species.  Weather was setting full sun, about 5 deg C.

This year, 6 species recorded late PM (3.10 to 4.10pm):
  • 2 dunnock, 
  • 6 starlings,
  • 5 wood pigeon,
  • 1 blackbird, 
  • 3 mallard, 
  • 2 black headed gulls.
NOT seen, but often seen in garden, were long tail tits, blue tits, great tits, robins, jackdaws, rooks, crows, red legged partridges,chaffinches,collared doves.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

More on over-wintering swallows

Well, apparently it did happen in 2008 and again in 2009.

See . This details BTO observations of a single swallow in a Cornish village between December and the following February. As our climate warms more swallows may decide to give the 12000 mile round trip south a miss. It is a chancy thing, as a cold snap could see off all the insect food.

The image of the swallow is actually located on the RSPB page linked below. It will be deleted immediately if so linking infringes any copyright. I don't think it does as it still "resides" on the original site.

See also .

From a Yahoo group in 2009:
Records of birds hanging on (over winter) include single Swallows at Penzance and Marazion in Cornwall. The latter site was home to four birds until recently, with an earlier cold spell killing three, and the last bird is surviving on insects in a 20m by 4m patch of seaweed washed up against the sea wall. This is remarkably similar to the earlier winter occurrence of four Swallows at an oil refinery in Pembrokeshire, with a single bird surviving until at least 6 January.
N Ireland

Friday, 25 April 2014

(More) birds in Mill Close

In the last few days there have been a few more small birds evident at our new home. There were great tits around today and yesterday my wife noticed a long tailed tit, so the small birds are around after all. It certainly seems harder to attract them than at the old house, but we will continue to try.

The long tailed tit certainly seems more common than a few years back and certainly is a most attractive little bird, more often heard (very high pitched squeak) than seen. Often, especially in winter, there are flocks of these flitting from tree to tree.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Swallows in East Anglia

The barn swallow has been seen in S.Devon since mid-March, but here in East Anglia they are later arriving, at least in significant numbers. There may have been the odd ones earlier this month.

Today April  23rd, I had my second view this year (first last week) and my first close-up view, close to the River Ouse in Ely. The return of swallows from S.Africa, crossing continents and deserts to reach here, lifts my spirits. Even more so when the swifts arrive in a few more weeks' time.

 "All's well with the world" as Robert Browning said.

See . But numbers are declining.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Garden Birdwatch 2012

Every year for many years now I've taken part in the RSPB's Garden Birdwatch. You are asked to count the maximum number of each different bird species seen in your garden, or in a park,  in any one hour.  My house backs on to a lane and then open meadows with a good number of deciduous trees so I usually manage to see an interesting variety of the smaller birds. Last year the long-tailed tit (see left) was the big surprise with no less than 12 seen together. Occasionally we get a treat when a sparrow hawk, green woodpecker or spotted woodpecker appear, but so far never in the hour I am doing the count. Anyone can take part for any hour over this weekend and you do not have to be a Royal Society for the Protection of Birds member.