Another year, another lockdown; or more cheerily – another year, another Big Garden Birdwatch! The perfect thing to do for an hour when you can’t leave home.
Saturday it pretty much poured with rain all day, so today seemed like a better birding day. It was still bloomin’ cold sitting there though for an hour and my derrière was pretty numb by the time I finished. Still it was worth it to record a very respectable 34 individuals of 12 species.
Top of the abundance was, as usual, the house sparrow. I counted at least 12 in one go, although I’m sure we actually have more than that. Joint second were the blackbirds and jackdaws – 4 of each. I can’t tell the difference between male and female jackdaws, but for the blackbirds there was one female and at least 3 males.
Most of the rest arrived in pairs – goldfinches, great tits, collared doves, wood pigeons, starlings and magpies, although I only seemed to manage to get photos of them one at a time.
And then there was a singleton blue tit, dunnock and robin. The robin was the most sociable of the whole bunch. He even landed on the camouflage netting right by my head – too close to even get a photo. As if sensing that he might be missing his photo op, he then obligingly hopped down to some stems in front of me and posed so I could get his good side. Of course there was still a twig in the way – isn’t there always?
The (almost) highlight of the whole hour came near the end when I think a sparrowhawk zoomed across the garden after a small bird. Unfortunately it all happened so fast that I couldn’t be sure that’s what I saw and I almost got tangled in the camouflage netting in my haste to stand up and get a better look. So although I’m about 80% certain it was a sparrowhawk, I wasn’t sure enough to include it in my birdwatch results. So close!
A bit disappointed that our wren didn’t put in an appearance, nor the long-tailed tits. And really disappointed that our male blackcap was a no-show too. He’s been pretty much resident outside our patio doors for the last 3 weeks, but today of course he chose to have the morning off. Just to prove it, here he is from a few weeks ago.
Submitting my data took a few goes as the RSPB website seemed to be struggling. Hopefully that’s a good sign and means lots of people have been doing the count.
Success in the end though and nice to know I’d contributed in a small way to another bit of citizen science. Talking of which, tonight happens to be my next slug collection night for the Slug Count project. It’s all go!