Saturday 24 January 2015

Big Garden Bird Watch

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch is an important snapshot of how garden birds are doing. We always take part, though the remote and wild nature of our garden means there is less distinction between it and the surrounding woods and fields than with town gardens. Today it was cold with a strong NW wind and flurries of snow mixed with bursts of sunshine. The mix of birds - great tit, blue tit, coal tit, chaffinch, blackbird, robin, dunnock, great spotted woodpecker, pheasant - was typical for the time of year. Some birds that are regulars at other times of the year - greenfinch, siskin - are rare in January while some - long-tailed tits, goldfinches, crested tits - we only see occasionally.

Blue tits and coal tits in a burst of sunshine

This year there was just me doing the counting and it proved difficult, especially with the coal tits and blue tits, which flew in and out constantly, and six feeders plus the ground and bushes to watch. I'm sure my counts of six coal tits and eight blue tits at any one time are probably too low.

Coal tit

When the bird numbers calmed down I took photographs through the window - handheld with a 55-210 zoom lens, the bright snow meaning I could use fast shutter speeds.

Great spotted woodpecker & great tit

Blue tit

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