RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2015

It’s citizen science time again. I got thirteen species this year, which is actually about par; my record is nineteen, but I’ve had several years which were much worse.

Carrion Crow × 3
Magpie × 2

Feral Pigeon × 1
Woodpigeon × 1

Blackbird × 1
Robin × 1
Dunnock × 2

Blue Tit × 1
Great Tit × 4
Coal Tit × 1
Long-tailed Tit × 3

Chaffinch × 5
Goldfinch × 1

It’s a rather boring list, even by suburban London standards; no sparrowhawk, nuthatch, woodpecker, siskin, greenfinch, stock dove… but never mind.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014

I got 19 species this year, which equals my previous best.

blue tit × 4
great tit × 3
long-tailed tit × 2
coal tit × 1

chaffinch × 3
greenfinch × 1

dunnock × 2
robin × 3
nuthatch × 1

blackbird × 2
redwing × 1
song thrush × 1

ring-necked parakeet × 3
great-spotted woodpecker × 1
magpie × 2
carrion crow × 2

pigeon × 7
woodpigeon × 1

sparrowhawk × 1

It’s the first time I’ve seen redwing during the count; on the other hand no goldfinch(!) or goldcrest, wren, siskin, starling.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2013

This year’s list:

robin × 3
blackbird × 2
dunnock × 2

great tit × 2
blue tit × 4
coal tit

chaffinch × 3
siskin × 3

carrion crow

ring-necked parakeet × 2
starling × 2

pigeon × 4
woodpigeon

Which is pretty terrible, frankly. The siskins were a pleasant surprise, but I’m missing long-tailed tit, goldfinch, magpie, jay, song thrush, both woodpeckers, wren, nuthatch… even the numbers are a bit disappointing. But there you go.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2012

It’s time for some citizen science again. I got 19 species, which turns out to equal my previous best. Not that I saw anything very surprising; it was mainly that I didn’t miss any of the very common species. As usual, the counts are for the maximum present at any one time.

feral pigeon × 5
woodpigeon × 5

blue tit × 5
great tit × 2
long-tailed tit
coal tit

chaffinch × 4
greenfinch × 2
goldfinch

robin × 2
wren
dunnock × 2
starling × 2

blackbird × 4
mistle thrush

great spotted woodpecker × 2
ring-necked parakeet × 3

carrion crow
magpie × 3

There’s certainly scope to beat that number — jay might be the most obvious missing species, and heron, goldcrest, green woodpecker, siskin, sparrowhawk, song thrush, collared dove, stock dove and nuthatch are all entirely plausible — but I’d have to get fairly lucky.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2011

It’s that time of year again. Time for some citizen science! I got off to a great start with two siskins, and ended up with a respectable 17 species:

Blue Tit × 6
Great Tit × 4
Long-tailed Tit × 3

Chaffinch × 5
Greenfinch × 7
Goldfinch × 3
Siskin × 2

Dunnock

Robin

Blackbird

Nuthatch × 2

Woodpigeon × 2
Feral Pigeon × 4
Collared Dove

Great-spotted Woodpecker × 2
Green Woodpecker

Magpie × 2

Collared dove is a new one for the BGBW; it’s a species that only turns up in the garden very occasionally. As always a few regular species failed to show: coal tit, goldcrest, jay and most surprisingly, ring-necked parakeet. But it was still a good year.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2010

That time of year again, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, one of the world’s biggest exercises in citizen science. The usual drill: one hour of birding in the garden, with the counts being the maximum seen at one time.

  • blue tit × 3
  • great tit × 2
  • coal tit
  • long-tailed tit
  • chaffinch × 3
  • goldfinch
  • woodpigeon × 2
  • pigeon × 4
  • magpie × 3
  • blackbird × 3
  • song thrush
  • robin
  • dunnock × 2
  • ring-necked parakeet × 3
  • sparrowhawk

There’s a few fairly regular visitors missing; greenfinch, jay, great-spotted woodpecker, goldcrest, nuthatch. But on balance think it’s a pretty decent list.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2009

My list for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch:

Blue tit 3
Great tit 2
Long-tailed tit 2

Chaffinch 2

Robin 2
Dunnock 1

Magpie 1
Carrion crow 4

Green woodpecker 1

Town pigeon 4
Woodpigeon 2

Sparrowhawk 1

Which is basically pretty rubbish — it was very quiet today — but is livened up by a couple of decent species: sparrowhawk, which is increasingly common around here but by no means something I see in the garden often, and green woodpecker, which it turns out I have seen once before on a BGBW, but was still pleasing.

Most ridiculous gap on that list: blackbird. I mean, come on. Almost as surprising, no ring-necked parakeet.

Lots of possibles that didn’t show: wren, goldcrest, goldfinch, nuthatch, coal tit, great-spotted woodpecker.  The garden has been weirdly short of birds for the past two or three years, though. We used to have lots of starlings: I’ve seen about two this year. Same with greenfinches. There used to be lots more chaffinches. I haven’t seen siskin this year.

I don’t know why this is true, but it’s faintly depressing. Ho-hum.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2008

It’s that time of year again. I haven’t been looking forward to it particularly because it has just been a rubbish year for birds in the garden. I don’t know why. I’m not sure we’ve ever had quite as many birds since we moved all the feeders onto a pole in open space nearer the house (to make the birds easier to see and keep off the squirrels), but the feeders were busy enough in the summer, so I don’t know if that’s it. Anyway, in the event my results were about comparable to last year, with the difference that last year I felt I’d been really unlucky whereas this year it seems about right.

Blackbird – 3
Blue tit – 3
Great tit – 2
Dunnock – 1
Feral pigeon – 4
Woodpigeon – 4
Magpie – 2
Robin – 1
Wren – 1
Siskin – 3
Chaffinch – 2

No goldfinch, no greenfinch, no coal tit, no great-spotted woodpecker, no jay, no crow. Let alone any of the relative long shots like long-tailed tit or goldcrest. I didn’t even get any parakeets during my chosen hour, although they’re the one bird we’ve been getting a lot of.

For comparison: 2005, 2006, 2007.

If you’re in the UK, you’ve still got until the end of the weekend to take part. Please do!

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2007

I did the annual RSPB garden birdwatch yesterday. This was my third time and by far my worst list yet. Not because of any catastrophic decline in birds, but just because I had a rather dud hour. It didn’t help that I did it at midday, which is never the best time for birds.

Despite the fact that it’s just a statistical exercise, and not a competition, there was a terrible temptation to cheat and try to make the list a better reflection of the species I see regularly. But I manfully resisted. Here’s the list (for comparison: 2005, 2006). Numbers refer to the maximum number seen at once.

Woodpigeon – 1
Feral Pigeon – 2

Dunnock – 2

(Eurasian) Robin – 2
Blackbird – 1

Blue Tit – 3
Great Tit – 3
Coal Tit – 1
Long-tailed Tit – 2

Chaffinch – 2

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2006

If you’re in the UK, there’s still time to do the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2006 this weekend. Just watch your garden or local park for an hour, record all the bird species and what the maximum number you saw at one time was, and submit the results to the RSPB.

This year I saw:

blue tit – 6
great tit – 3
coal tit – 1

siskin – 3
chaffinch – 7
greenfinch – 5
goldfinch – 2

nuthatch – 1
wren – 1
dunnock – 1
goldcrest – 1
robin – 1

jay – 1
magpie – 1
carrion crow – 2

great spotted woodpecker – 2
ring-necked parakeet – 2
feral pigeon – 8

song thrush – 1
blackbird – 3

which isn’t bad. Marginally better than last year, though I’m interested to see I had three starlings last year, because there aren’t any around at the moment. Still no house sparrows, sadly. I’ve seen one about 5 minutes walk away, so perhaps in a year or two they’ll be back here.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2005

I just took part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2005.

If you’re living in Britain, there’s still time to take part – you can do it today or tomorrow. My list (numbers are maximum seen at once):

great tit – 4
blue tit – 9
coal tit – 1

greenfinch – 2
chaffinch – 2

nuthatch – 1
robin – 2
starling – 3
goldcrest – 1
dunnock – 1
blackbird – 2

feral pigeon – 6
woodpigeon – 1

green woodpecker – 1
great spotted woodpecker – 1

carrion crow – 2
magpie – 3

black-headed gull – 12

Which is pretty mediocre, to be honest. Some birds I regularly see in the garden that didn’t turn up in my hour slot: jay, goldfinch, heron, long-tailed tit, collared dove, ring-necked parakeet. Jay was probably the biggest gap in the list.

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