Dear Readers, it was the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, and for once the weather, at least in East Finchley, was bright and sunny. It’s always a pleasure to just top up all the feeders and watch to see who turns up. The starlings were looking particularly splendid today I thought, with that iridescent sheen on their plumage showing to great advantage.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been noticing a lot of blackbirds , so it was good to be able to sit and actually watch them. It seems that my garden is on the intersection between two pairs of the birds. One pair has a very dapper, fully adult male, who was flying off with beakfuls of mealworms. The other pair has a much younger male, who is a bit less confident.
There are also two females, but I haven’t yet worked out which is paired up with which male.
All very confusing! We shall have to see how it all plays out.
There were the usual goldfinches and chaffinches.
And of course, a grey squirrel.
There were blue and great tits, a robin, and a pair of magpies who visited briefly before noting me, watching through the kitchen window with my binoculars, and flying off.
But as always when I pay attention, there was also a male blackcap lurking in the foliage. He very rarely comes to the feeders, but I’m surprised how often he shows up when I do the Birdcount. He’s probably around a lot more than I notice. I rather like these shy little warblers, who bring a touch of wildness to the garden.
So, here’s my count for the hour in full – for those of you who aren’t familiar with how the UK Birdcount works, you record the maximum number of birds of each species that you see in the garden at the same time. I suspect for me this is an underestimate, what with me wrestling with binoculars, a camera, the recording app on my phone and keeping an eye on the lunch all at the same time.
Blackbird – 4
Blue Tit – 2
Chaffinch – 6
Collared Dove – 3
Goldfinch – 4
Great Tit – 1
Magpie – 2
Robin – 1
Starlings – 10
A lot of the usual suspects didn’t show up (as usual) – no woodpigeons or coal tits, no long-tailed tits or great spotted woodpeckers. But this wasn’t a bad showing for a Big Garden Birdwatch day – usually all the birds seem to lurk elsewhere until exactly one minute after the count ends, before reappearing. Little devils!