Posts Tagged ‘RSPB’

Big Garden Bird Watch

January 25, 2015

Counting the birds on our plot for one hour a year is something we just do. It is always a bit of a disappointment in that birds we see on a regular basis just don’t turn up in our chosen hour. But this time there were a couple of finches seen that we rarely see although neither would be classed as uncommon. We saw greenfinches and a bullfinch and they don’t often get entered on our return to the RSPB.

It has to be said that I seem to have a problem when I patrol our area to count the birds. It seems I’m not allowed to do it alone. Our ever friendly cat accompanies me.

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There he is. Yes, we are lucky and have a pasture field as well as a garden.

I got in amongst our fruit trees – often a good spot for birds, but not when this one takes up a dominant perch.

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Even in the garden, near the house, an area where I expect to see sparrows by the quite a few, goes quiet as the cat seeks a good vantage point.

But I did see house sparrows in some quantity. I counted eight of which four got in one photo.

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The house sparrow is often a neglected species. They are regarded as dull and ordinary but in truth we are lucky to still see them in numbers. And they do have beauty as well.

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OK, there are no bold bright colours but the feather markings are still quite striking.

It isn’t easy to get photos on a bird count. You need to spot, recognise and record and then turn attention to a camera – by which time the bird has probably moved on.

Big Garden Bird Watch

January 26, 2014

We always do the big garden bird watch, run by the Royal Society for the protection of birds. We are lucky in where we live. We have no shortage of birds and we also have a big area.

This year we operated from 9.30 in the morning until 10.30. You are supposed to count the birds that land (one’s in flight aren’t allowed) and report on the highest number you see of each species at any one time. It’s enjoyable to do.

We start by checking the area close to the house where we have bird feeders. We don’t expect to see much at that time of the morning. The birds have had breakfast and tend to give the feeders a miss until lunchtime.

Then we walk around our three acres in opposite directions. I actually had a problem.

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Our cat decided to accompany me and certainly made sure no birds would take a bath in this little trough.

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There’s time to enjoy the view. We can see the medieval church and beyond that, on the downs there are the terraces made by equally, or more ancient farmers who made some level strips for crop growing.

Catkins tell us that spring is on the way.

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Photographing birds was never going to be easy, particularly with a scary cat walking almost to heel. But blackbirds in profusion were arguing over territory and took less notice of potential threats as they sung their hearts out from the tree tops.

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Lichen grows well in our area. Some say it is a sign of unpolluted air. I know little about these strange plants, but here are three kinds growing on our fruit trees.

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A village view. The centre of the village has been redeveloped twice since the late 1950s. These days we think it is a shame the old medieval buildings were pulled down.

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But he doesn’t care. He just wonders why I have stopped.

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Now that’s an interesting building. It dates from the mid-19th century when the lord of the manor decided he should offer sporting recreation to his guests. This was his racquets court. It is a delightful family home now.

Not many birds – but I can finish with a bird nesting box which, actually, was a Christmas present a month ago.

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It is high up the pole to be well away of prowling cats!

For the record, here’s what we saw in our hour.

house sparrow 8
jackdaw 9
blackbird 3
chaffinch 1
crow 1
great tit 3
blue tit 3
starling 1
wood pigeon 3
grey wagtail 1
redwing 2
song thrush 1
green woodpecker 2
magpie 1
goldcrest 4
greenfinch 1
dunnock 2