Today is the launch of the Big Garden Birdwatch. It's our most important weekend of the year when we ask you to spend just one hour of your time recording what birds you see in your garden or park and sending in the results to us so we can find out which species are doing well and which need our help.
The best time to do the Big Garden Birdwatch is first thing in the morning as this is when the birds are most active, but any time today or tomorrow will bring results.
It's a great way of getting the family insipred by nature, but it can also be a nice way of spending one hour of 'me' time, watching the birds with a nice hot cuppa!
To take part, you first need to register online. You then write down the highest number of each species seen at any one time (so if you see two Blackbirds together then later see four, you record four) over the period of an hour and then submit the results to us online by February 17th.
At RSPB Fairburn Ings we've also got our own event taking place to celebrate the Big Garden Birdwatch.....
From 11am to 3pm today and tomorrow, our staff will be on hand to talk about garden birds. And there will be a guided Big Garden Birdwatch discovery trail taking place tomorrow.
Visitors can learn how to make ‘green’ birdfeeders and garden bird masks!
Entry is free to RSPB members, with a £2.50 car parking charge to non-members.
We would love to know if you enjoyed taking part and if you saw anything unusual.
Happy bird counting....
Thank you to everyone who's contributed to the sightings book today; it's looking jam-packed and we can only let others know what's been seen if you come and tell us about it.
Just outside the Visitor Centre, we've seen a male Bullfinch, a Coal Tit, a group of Red-legged Partridge, and Long-tailed Tits. Heading out a bit further, on the way to Pickup Hide, we've had two Brambling.
Going along the Riverbank Trail, three Goldeneye have been seen in Village Bay, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker has been seen in the woods along Cut Lane.
A Treecreeper was spotted on the Lin Dike Link, as well as two Green Woodpeckers and a Meadow Pipit. On the other side of Lin Dike, on The Moat, we've had over 25 Fieldfare and over 10 Starlings.
The Taiga Bean Goose was spotted on Sunday behind Cedric's Pool.
On the same day, a Peregrine flew over the Visitor Centre, and from Bob Dickens Hide were seen three Goosander, a Goldeneye, a Pochard, a Tufted Duck, and a Great Crested Grebe. Later on, a flock of Redpolls was seen around the Kingfisher Screen.
Big Garden Birdwatch has had a brilliant boost, thanks to our friends at Welcome to Yorkshire.
Gary Verity, who's the boss of the tourism body, has called on every tourism business in Yorkshire to join in Big Garden Birdwatch this coming weekend.
Gary said: “Yorkshire has amazing wildlife, which every year attracts huge numbers of people to visit the county. Garden birds are an important part of that mix and the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is something all businesses can easily do, either in their garden, around the workplace or in the local park.
“We need to do all we can to provide the information needed to ensure Yorkshire’s garden birds thrive into the future and continue to provide enjoyment for us all."
How good is that? Thanks, Gary, and everyone at Welcome to Yorkshire, for your support. We think you’re cool!
Big Garden Birdwatchers can request a free Big Garden Birdwatch pack over the phone by calling 0300 456 8330, or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch for more information and to submit results.
I am not mentioning the weather – I am not mentioning the weather – I am not mentioning the weather.
At least, not until I feel relatively safe to do so!
For the first time in a long while, I managed to go out onto the reserve with my camera, on a lunch break, and record some of the fantastic wildlife within just a few minutes’ walk of the visitor centre. Last week, on Friday 13th of all days, I managed to watch the Kingfisher at the Kingfisher Screen for a good few minutes (unfortunately my camera isn’t powerful enough to get a good photo!) before it flew upstream and away from where I was standing. Walking away I heard (and eventually saw) a Robin singing its heart out at the very top of a tree – I always feel privileged when a Robin allows me to stand nearby and listen to him singing, sometimes for fifteen minutes or more. At Pickup, Long-tailed tits flew just outside and allowed me a good few pictures of them. At home that evening I just had to show people how cute they are and to share my love of them, even if it was expressed in girly squeals of, ‘but look at its face!’.
All this was perfect practice for the Big Garden Birdwatch on 28th and 29th January, for which we’ll be asking as many people as we can to count all of the birds which land in your garden, in a local park, or wherever you can find handy, in order to help the RSPB keep track of how well our birds are doing. There are ten birds we ask you to record, so have a look at our Big Garden Birdwatch website to do your research and find out which birds you need to brush up on – everything you need to know is at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/. Here at Fairburn Ings, we’ll have staff on hand to talk about garden birds all weekend, and on Sunday 29th we’ll have the Fairburn Ings Advisory Group leading a walk around the reserve to have a look at some of the birds you may see in your garden at home. For more information about the Big Garden Birdwatch here at RSPB Fairburn Ings, have a look at our Events page at: www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/f/fairburnings/events.aspx.
If you’re looking to attract some feathered friends to your garden, we have100g bags of dried mealworms on offer at the moment - six bags are currently £10 (normally they are £4.99 each), and if there are any cats in your area then Catwatches (devices which emit high-pitched sounds only cats can hear) are now £49.99, down from £59.99.
From those of you who took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2011, we found out that there was a 103% increase (since BGBW 2010) in Goldfinches, and a 113% increase in Treecreepers, which is brilliant news for us as the harsh winter of 2010 really had us worried about them! Let’s hope there’ll be some more good news this year, and that we can encourage even more people to take part and take a step for nature.
As of late we've had a Taiga Bean Goose causing quite a stir and it's still around by all accounts. One of our Main Bay Black Swans has been making its self known at the feeding platform in recent days and we still continue to see lots of fieldfare and redwing.
Other birds around are,
Coal tit, willow tit, bullfinch, red legged partridge, redpoll, mealy redpoll, goldeneye, little egret, tree creepers, pintail, several female smew, goosander and 300+ lapwing.
A sparrowhawk is also a regular visitor to the visitor car park, as is a female kestrel and numerous tree sparrows.