Having discussed my fears of the ‘curse of the Big Garden Birdwatch’ yesterday, I had a feeling this morning I was in for a decent day.
Walking out around 8am to ensure all the feeders were topped up, there was already an early starter. A single female Siskin. They’ve been around for a week now, somewhere between 8 and a dozen in total, a lovely little company. They seem to have settled in for the remainder of the weekend. Tiny as they are, they are also feisty. Sensing I was coming to remove the feeder she was occupying, she settled for turning and hissing at me, attempting to hold her ground till the last possible moment before heading for the nearby willow tree (most of our birds use this as a spot to queue).
I finally started the count around 9:30, and almost as soon as I did we had two Lesser Redpoll appear on the nyjer seed. We’ve not seen them in a few weeks, so it was another good omen.
We soon had Blackbird, Siskin, Wood Pigeon, Starling, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. Although it was good to see so many species, numbers were relatively low in all cases. Knowing there are usually at least half-a-dozen each of Siskin, Greenfinch and Goldfinch, it was odd to see just three or four of each.
Other appearances were made by Magpies, Dunnocks, our Robin, and several House Sparrows.
Around 45 minutes in what was noticeable was the absence of tits. We normally have plenty of Blue, Great and Coal Tits, and fairly regular Long-Tailed Tits too. Eventually we did get three Blue Tits, but no others.
So the final totals for the hour were:
2 Lesser Redpolls
3 Wood Pigeons
3 Blue Tits
4 House Sparrows
While you’ll hardly ever get every species in an hour, it was a shame that the numbers ended up being less than representative of our actual population of many species. I had hoped one of the local pairs of Bullfinches might have dropped in, but you can’t be greedy!
As I write this around 1pm the numbers of finches are back up, and we’ve seen the previously absent Great and Coal Tits too, so at least we know they were just being lazy. Ditto the Collared Doves, who we found still sleeping in a tree at the front of the house around 11am.
For all those minor complaints this was one of the most successful Big Garden Birdwatch sessions I’ve managed. If you’d offered me Siskin and Lesser Redpoll a fortnight ago I’d have been delighted.
Going to try get photos of many of these garden birds this weekend, so hopefully I can follow this up with some images.
(Sadly the BGBW website is currently down, so I can’t put my results up yet)