Wings, within and without (birdwatching)

This was the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2011. Returning from a brief trip out I decided the moment when I spotted a male Blackcap in the garden was the moment to start my hour sat in the french windows watching the feeders in the back garden!

Our feeders feature peanuts, robin seed and insect mix, niger seed and the now obligatory fat balls. So, the highest number of each of the 11 bird species spotted in my garden during the hour from 11.38am – 12.38pm on Saturday 29th January 2011 was:

Blackbird (male) 2
Starling 1
Goldfinch 6
Blackcap (male) 1
Chaffinch 4
Collard Dove 1
Pidgeon 2
Robin 1
Siskin 4 (1 male, 3 female)
Bluetit 2
Greenfinch 2

The big omissions as far as regular visitors I know we usually get, but didn’t see in the allotted hour included the Long-tailed Tits that regular dash through our garden 2-3 times a day between favoured hedges, and the two Great-tits that regularly shout at the dog!

However, today got far more exciting for birdlife with what I believe in the trade is known as a ‘lifer’ – the first time we’ve seen Waxwing! The tip-off came via Hants Ornithological Society – or to be precise their HOS-list, a Yahoo-community I belong to. Someone had spotted Waxwings in my local supermarket car park on Saturday. On the off chance of them still being there today, I swung through the car park this afternoon on the way to a church errand. They were!

A quick dash home for the family and we went back to watch them doing circuits round the local area. Approximate number of birds 65 and minus one who had sadly died flying into the local surgery car park (which had since been taped up with plastic bags to stop it happening again). Another with less damage was sat rather still in a bush – bright, but not wanting to fly round – but that gave G the best shots we could get on our little camera.

Feeling cold, but well chuffed. I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoyed birdwatching, and how frustrating it is not to have a bigger lens on our better camera!! I shall go and repent the sin of envy whilst preaching at communion this evening!



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