Big Garden Birdwatch 2020

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Greenfinch catching the sunlight – yes, there was some!

This morning I took the annual hour out to count the garden birds for the Big Garden Birdwatch.

Now obviously I watch the garden birds more often than once year, possibly a little too much, especially when I have other things I ought to be doing! But doing it for citizen science can bring surprises, as it did with last year’s Redpolls.

Sadly however, there wasn’t so much to excitement me this year – though it was good to get our local Dunnocks on the list. As yet there are no Redpolls, nor the Siskin, but the latter don’t usually materialise until late February, for reasons I don’t know.

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A split second of peace between squabbling Greenfinch and Goldfinch – probably because they’ve both got their mouths full! 

Anyway, this years list is as follows with some notes – as always the numbers are the maximum number of birds viewed at any one time within the hour:
Goldfinches 13 (quarrelsome bunch)
Greenfinches 3 (don’t always win their battles with the Goldfinches despite their relative bulk!)
Dunnock 2 (I think there’s a romance going on, they follow each other faithfully)
Blue Tit 2 (I really wish they’d use the lovely birch bird-box on their regular flight-path at the corner of the house.)
Wood Pigeon 2 (who spent most the hour at either end of the fence, like bookends.)
Feral Pigeon 4 (about a third of the actual number, which continually rises.)
Robin 1 (as territorial as always, and particularly fond of seeing off the Dunnocks.)

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A very poor photo of the resident love-birds – sorry Dunnocks. They are also one of the best songsters in the garden which might be why our Robin doesn’t like the competition!

Blackbird 1 (briefly, high in his vantage point in the apple tree)
Chaffinch 1 (briefly identifiable among the Goldfinches but didn’t fight for space to feed, which is sad when they used to be far the most numerous finch in the garden.)
Starling 2 (numbers are down locally, they used to be almost a nuisance on the fat balls.)

The best bit of bird-watching in the day came immediately after I stopped watching the feeders – as I washed up yesterday’s dishes I watched the corvids mobbing a Sparrowhawk over the houses opposite! Typical.

2 thoughts on “Big Garden Birdwatch 2020

  1. Derek Hollis

    I recorded my lowest ever list this year.

    We are missing the variety of birds we had in the Rectory garden, and since retiring to Norfolk I’ve been encouraging the birds into the garden here.

    We have had lots through the spring, summer and autumn and I struggled to keep the feeders filled. In the winter, however, when I would have expected to see more birds than at other times, they have been absent and the feeders deserted.

    1. Our sunflower hearts are always pretty busy, and I only feed those and the fastballs now, because I don’t wish to ‘grow’ the variety of seed that they are prone to waste! Otherwise I might get more variety I guess, though it wasn’t a problem last year. Last year was harsher, which is I think why the Redpolls turned up. This year has been so mild, I suspect a lot of stuff is still able to forage our commons and field edges – at least I hope that’s where they are. We do get Great-tits, sometimes Long-tails, an occasional Wren, but none of those showed in the relevant hour before the rain returned.

      On a different note, we’re heading to Suffolk and Norfolk in July for the first time – family re-search in Woodbridge, wildlife (Minsmere and the Norfolk Swallowtail butterflies if they’re still flying) and history (Sutton Hoo) on the to-do list. If there’s any hidden gems in the region that you’d recommend, do please tell 😉

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