Sunday, January 25, 2009

Big Garden Birdwatch

Jackdaw

It's that time of year again: the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. I did mine from 8.30-9.30 yesterday morning, when it was still frosty and cold. Today it's mild (the pond ice has melted), wet and windy. 

Here are the totals...
  • Chaffinch, 8
  • Jackdaw, 5
  • Blackbird, 3
  • Dunnock, 3
  • Great Tit, 3
  • Starling, 3
  • Blue Tit, 2
  • Greenfinch, 2
  • Coal Tit, 2
  • Robin, 1
  • Goldfinch, 1
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1
  • Magpie, 1
That's quite different from last year and the year before, in some ways.

Where were all the Greenfinches? I counted a max of 12 last year. There have been mutterings on Cambirds about various theories, including alternative food sources and nasty illnesses (trichomoniasis).

Where were all the Blue Tits? Only two at once seems a bit pathetic, but we know from our New Year ringing session that there will have been lots more, but also that they had a bad breeding season in 2008.

Blackbird numbers were up, with a max count of 3 at once this year (1 in 2008 and none in 2007!). Annoyingly, I've counted 5 at once today. It was a similar story with Great Spotted Woodpeckers: only 1 male seen during my hour's count, but I saw two different females yesterday: 1 with a ring, and the other distinctively dirty.

It was good to see some Starlings, as they're not always around. One was the male I ringed on 3 January, so it'll be interesting to see whether he disappears in a few weeks or stays a while longer. No Marsh Tits, Sparrowhawks or sparrows of any description, though.

photo taken with Canon EOS 30D, EF 300mm f/4L IS USM