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Big Garden Bird Watch 2019

Posted in Photography Blog

Over the weekend of 26th ~ 28th January was the Big Garden Bird Watch ~ where people all over the country record birds seen over an hour at some point during the weekend, then sending off their record to the RSPB. It is a national survey of the birds in our gardens, parks etc and gives the RSPB a picture of which birds numbers are growing, falling and where they are distributed.

I’ve spent most of January poorly, either in bed or miserable under a blanket on the sofa. This meant I wasn’t well enough to venture outside in the chilly air ~ instead I created a day bed by pushing a chair against a sofa (to create a sort of sofa/chair boat). I made a nest with pillows and blanket, had my camera around my neck and notes up on my phone to record the birds seen.

The camera acted as my eyes ~ my eye sight is so poor that even wearing glasses to look through the view finder my vision was fuzzy. My cunning plan ~ which worked, was to photograph the birds I saw and then note what they were once I downloaded the images. Obviously I could see the Doves and Woodpigeons ~ my eyesight could manage to focus on them, but the smaller birds were just blobs to me which made the images downloaded from my camera essential.

I was absolutely thrilled to see the woodpecker, it was absolutely stunning with its fabulous colours. I have never seen a woodpecker before, I’ve heard them but not seen them.

I struggled taking the photos because the conservatory is pretty much a dumping ground at the moment and so we have small mountains of bits and bobs ready for selling, storing or organising ~ this meant they were big enough to reflect on the window and make it tough to focus the camera on the birds because it wanted to focus on the reflections instead. The blinds were also a pain, either open or closed, it made no difference ~ they still reflected on the windows and so I had to try to focus between the slats on the birds to minimise reflections.

In addition to the focusing issues my lovely dogs decided to keep me company but liked to watch with noses pressed against the glass, which mean intermittent window cleaning to remove dog nose art was necessary.

At the end of the day I am thrilled with the bird activity I saw. I knew we had many frequent visitors purely by the amount of bird food we go through. I have to fill the many feeders daily and have various seed and suet mixes to appeal to the various bird species.

The surprises for me were seeing a Goldfinch and what I am told by google image reverse search is a Greenfinch, but may be a female Chaffinch ~ so if you know which it is I would appreciate your opinion in the comments, plus the wonderful Woodpecker.

I knew we had a Robin but was surprised to see 3 in a row at one point and am frustrated to say the photo I took was all reflection and not much Robin so can’t share that moment with you.

When we moved into our house in 2005 our new neighbour pointed out the starlings coming and going from our eaves. We never did anything about it and every year are thrilled to see Starlings still coming and going from the same place in the eaves. I love them and they are hugely entertaining with their mischief and squabbles, they can really make some noise and at one point have had ten all on the feeder ~ fighting and jostling, which was awesome to see such numbers. Unfortunately I haven’t got a picture of those numbers today but have posted in the past pictures of about 7 on my feeder at one time.

The Doves and Pigeons live and roost on neighbours trees and are always in the garden, it is rare to look out and not see any birds. We used to have 6 Doves but one flew into an upstairs window and broke its neck so we are down to 5. We have since covered the upstairs window so no more birds will fly into it.

The black birds are also frequent visitors and have stripped our holly bush of berries. The Robins, Sparrows, Tits and Black Birds are always on the trees and in the holly bush ~ darting here there and everywhere, always busy.

The Magpies are hard to photograph as they swoop down and feed then swoop off again, mostly staying in the trees.

Over the next few years we hope to make the garden a lovely place for not just us but also wildlife and birds. We have plans now we just need to be well enough to carry them out.

We now have 2 regular grey squirrels visit, mostly alone but occasionally together. Often you see one leaving as another arrives ~ they square off at each other and then go their own way.

I hope you enjoy the photos ~ again I apologise for the quality as they are through a window and I had to make the best of what I could do. Perhaps I could create a bird watching hide in the garden ~ now that’s a thought!

I have sent the record of birds seen to the RSPB and joined as a member too. If you are interested here are my results and the results of all the reports that have come through so far from the other participants of the Big Garden Bird Watch..
So, photos ~ if you are curious are below…
Greenfinch ~ Or is it a Female Chaffinch?
Male Great Spotted Woodpecker..
Great Tit..
Blue TIt..
Female House Sparrow..
Male House Sparrow..
Male Blackbird..
Female Blackbird..
Collared Doves..


I hope you enjoyed the “through the window” photographs of my Big Garden Bird Watch and once I submitted my survey results I joined the RSPB and look forward to visiting the nature reserves and receiving the quarterly magazine.

Just for fun I did the quiz to see what kind of bird I would be ~ turns out I’m a Robin..


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