Saturday 28 January 2017

Big Garden Birdwatch

Chaffinches in the rain

The last three months of mostly mild weather has seen a big reduction in the numbers of birds visiting the feeders in the garden so I wasn't surprised when today's count for the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch produced the lowest total we've ever had. Just 16 individual birds and 7 species. Last year we counted 47 birds from 9 species. The two species not seen this year were great spotted woodpecker, though we do see one most days, and greenfinch - we haven't seen any for many weeks.

Rain has been falling all day with very low cloud and no wind. Many of the birds we did see were just sitting in the trees staring into space. More interesting to watch was a red squirrel on a nut feeder and three rabbits browsing on shrubs.

The figures for this year are:

Chaffinch  7
Great tit     2
Coal tit      2
Blue tit      2
Robin        1
Dunnock   1
Blackbird  1


  1. Hi, Chris.

    Here in Caithness, with few trees, we just get those once common birds which seem to be disappearing from England - sparrows and starlings, for example. My neighbour's feeders still draw large numbers of birds each day.

    It's a while since I heard anything about the Big Birdwatch so I missed it this year. Do waders in the field opposite count or do the birds have to set foot in the garden?

    My best sighting last year was a rock pippit and a meadow pippit in the garden one after the other.

    Luckily, I haven't seen one of these.

    I am truly astonished that these things could fly.

    Cheers, John D

    1. With woods on three sides we mostly get woodland birds. There is rough pasture on the other side with plenty of waders in the spring and summer. The first lapwings should appear late this month. I've never seen any waders in the garden though and yes only birds in the garden count.

      We only see sparrows or starlings once or twice a year. Overall chaffinches are the commonest, followed by coal tits.

      I'd love to see a pterosaur - from a very safe distance!