Sunday, 31 January 2010

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

With the home garden "seeded" in the morning with RSPB seed mix scattered on the frosted ground, and a bowl of mix in place in a large overturned planter. The water bowl had been frozen overnight so thawed and topped up with a little luke warm water. Our neighbour has just erected a new bird table this week and laid out seed and kitchen scraps. Between us we seem to be keeping a fairly small but stable population of birds fed within the local vicinity.

For the purpose of the count I had agreed with my neighbour to count the bird activity in both gardens and submit the combined size and structural details to the register (approx size 1/2 tennis court, with both evergreen and deciduous shrubs, flowerbeds, lawn and "wildlife space"). The bird count was undertaken from 08:15 - 09:15.

The usual suspects appeared over the hour: singles of woodpigeon Columba palumbus, dunnock Prunella modularis, robin Erithacus Rubecula and songthrush Turdus philomelos; 3 blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus. 7 individually identifiable blackbird Turdus Merula consisting of  4 ♀♀ and 3 ♂♂ were also present over the hour the highest number together at any time being 5 for the purpose of the count.

Birds seen but not included in the count as they were "flyovers" or on adjacent rooftops: carrion crow Corvus corone; collared dove Streptopelia dacaocto; a single stock dove Columba oenas! feral pigeon Columba livia; bh gull Larus ridibundus and herring gull Larus argentatus. Another individually identifiable ♂ blackbird was also in the local area. A great tit Parus major and a probable second songthrush were also noted in a near distant tree.

5 house sparrows Passer domesticus were adjacent on their usual colony rooftops although unable to be included in the official count, they did grace the gardens some 45 minutes after the count closed.

An unexpected visitor to both gardens which momentarily flushed the birds half way through the count period was an urban fox Vulpes vulpes which then more surprisingly turned up 20 -25 ft high up settling on a rooftop amongst the overgrown ivy.

Across the rooftops towards the ivy fox hole

Vulpes vulpes

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