Hi everyone, as darkness descends on most of the UK i'm guessing that everyone who is taking part in the BIg Garden birdwatch has done so! Unless of course you have some night vision kit and are holding out for a tawny owl (you never know!)!
Thank you all for taking part, we hope that you have found it enjoyable, even if you didn't have as many birds this year which seems to be a common trend. Don't forget, we need all the results to be submitted before 17 Feb, even if you did the hour and didn't see any birds we still want to know, the link to the results submission page is below!
Thanks and best wishes
It's the best excuse I've found for staring out of the window for an hour. A pleasure ! And really chuffed to see a black cap - new to my garden this year. Looks like they are getting more common in winter if this forum is anything to go by.
I was disappointed with my London urban watch as few species showed up when I have seen loads at any other time, admittedly, spread over more than an hour. The 'RSPB hour bird watch' can't be considered wholly conclusive as to bird species that may visit any one observed area. I would suggest a separate form is filled in alongside 'hour-long bird watch form' which asks what species have been noted in our gardens and/or flying by or over garden in last few weeks or year. In 'RSPB hour watch' I was only able to note common species of Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Wood Pigeon. Whereas, of late Gold Finches have frequented my garden as well as Dunnock and Robin (seeming to be residents), Sparrows, Wren, Magpies and Crows, Long-tailed Tits and Greenfinches. Last year we had a visitation in our road of a flock of Waxwings gorging on neighbour's berried bush which I photographed. A couple of years ago someone local reported that their pet Vulture had escaped. A couple of days later, wandering to the newsagent round the corner, close to my home I observed a huge eagle-sized bird meandering up high in the balmy summer sky. In cemeteries of the locality I have seen Sparrowhawks, Kestrels and a Buzzard as well as hearing Chiff-Chaffs and much besides. A few years ago a Pheasant wandered across my S.E. urban London path. With this comment we're talking location of Peckham S.E. London where Hoodies and Gangster-Rappers are nowhere near so observable. Honest!
There is, of course, BirdTrack run jointly by RSPB, BTO, BirdWatch Ireland, and The Scotish Ornithologists Club. Look here: http://blx1.bto.org/birdtrack/ Takes a bit of time to set up with the sites you are recording, but makes it easy for you to view your records and it's nice to know you are sharing your sightings with the rest of the community in a useful way! Why not try it out?!
Who needs an excuse to stair out of the Window. Although I live on a first floor flat I have a fairly large garden at my disposal. Staring out of the kitchen widows at the antics of the sparrows, blackbirds and magpies that are regular visitors is more entertaining that watching the TV.
When I say visitors, the sparrows should be classed a permanent residents as they seem to have claimed squatters rights on my hedge. They get first go at the bird seed every morning. When I go into the garden in the morning there is hardly a sparrow to be seen. By the time I have retrieved the feeders and filled them in my shed they are all lined up on the top of the hedge waiting for me.
I had a pair of blackbirds breeding in the hedge last year but a fear the increase in population of sparrows may scare then off this year. I hope sparrows and blackbirds can get along with each other.
I think it's great that we've got so many reports from people doing this for the first time and really enjoying it. The more people who get bitten by the bird watching bug the more we can do to monitor and preserve our beautiful wildlife
Good post Stuart, as you say "who needs an excuse" for a pleasurable hour watching the birds? Like most people, the RSPB bird watch (although we do it) the hour has never been reflective of the variety of birds we get on a regular basis in our little plot! Recording a single blackbird, where as this morning there were at least eight chasing and squabbling, no goldfinch, who have been fairly regular visitors and worst of all was recording six sparrows when normally our trees and shrubs are covered with many of these noisy, chattering little fellows every day, we call them our "tenement" block residents! Even the sparrow hawk managed to stay away.
What a wonderful time we had this year recording our observations. It surpassed all our expectations. Living in a rural village close to farmland we have been privileged to have seen such a variety of visiting birds to our garden over the winter. We were apprehensive that we would not be so richly rewarded over just one hour. Rather than observing 15 mins here and there or when something catches the eye through the window the hour rewarded us with 27 different species including a Redwing and a two Mealy Redpoll seen for the first time in our garden.