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Big Garden Bird Watch 2011 January 30, 2011

Filed under: Nature and wildlife — lauravw @ 5:28 pm

It was the annual RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch this weekend, so on Saturday, as soon as I was up and dressed, I went out into the garden and topped up all the birdfeeders. I hung half a coconut from our apple tree, filled with food, and sprinkled suet pellets on the lawn – hoping all my extra efforts would mean more birds for the counting. We didn’t do too badly, but we have a theory that since we live in the sort of area where people take part in things like this, there’s a greater choice of food around for the birds on this particular weekend each year, and so as such the birds can be a bit choosy.

Here’s what we saw:

  • 3 blackbirds
  • 3 blue tits
  • 4 chaffinches
  • 2 dunnocks
  • 2 goldfinches
  • 1 magpie
  • 2 robins
  • 5 starlings
  • 2 woodpigeons
  • 1 redwing
  • 2 jackdaws.

I was really pleased a redwing made an appearance – we’ve had them in the garden a lot of late, and I would have been disappointed if one hadn’t visited during our hour of birdwatching. We also saw a cormorant flying overhead (not that we can record this one: they have to land in your garden to count).

There’s an article in The Guardian about the RSPB’s expectations for this year’s count: the harsh winter we’ve been experiencing in Europe means that birds from colder countries have been flying over here in search of food. Consequently this weekend’s birdwatchers should stand a better chance of spotting unusual visitors in their garden:

Experts said it was the best year for almost half a century to spot the exquisitely marked bohemian waxwing, slightly smaller than a starling, with a prominent reddish-brown crest, black eye mask and yellow-tipped tail. In normal years fewer than 100 visit these shores, mainly wintering on the east coast of northern England and Scotland. Occasionally larger flocks, or irruptions, are evident during “waxwing winters” when the population outgrows traditional breeding grounds.

I’ve not seen any, but I know they have been in our local area – there was one in a garden two houses down from us, and larger groups of them not too far away.

If you took part, I hope some nice birds turned up in your garden to be counted. Here are our results from previous years: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.

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One Response to “Big Garden Bird Watch 2011”

  1. PinkCat Says:

    What a lovely lot of birds you have in your garden. We have many of those too, but not some of the more exciting ones like dunnocks and jackdaws. I meant to the Bird Watch but just ran out of time at the weekend. There was a great little booklet free in last Saturday’s Daily Telegraph, which I’ll be keeping by the back door ready for some spotting! x


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