The Big Garden Birdwatch 2022


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.

The younger male blackbird

The more confident male


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.

Male blackcap

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!

7 thoughts on “The Big Garden Birdwatch 2022

  1. Sarah

    This was my first time in many years of not doing the BGB, and I felt rather bereft. I now live in a second floor flat which is too high up to see much of what’s going on in the scrap of garden below. But in a nearby National Trust garden I was delighted to see a treecreeper, goldcrests and what I am 90% sure were overwintering chiffchaffs (though they may have been other greenish warblers).

  2. Rosie Crook

    Thank you for sharing these – very interesting. I envy you your starlings; none here.Looking at the national picture it looks like chaffinch might be recovering a tiny bit?
    My results were very much like yours with very similar numbers of Great, Coal and Blue tits, 2 collared doves, 2 carrion crows probably from nearby farmland, 1 each of chaffinch, bullfinch and nuthatch and the surprising addition of 3 jays. Woodland garden and lack of acorns I suspect. I was pleased they chose that hour.
    It’s great to be reminded of how useful this is.Thank you – love your posts.

  3. Mal

    The birds did seem to come in pairs this year. Only one goldfinch and the siskins were a no show. A few hours later and a sparrowhawk was on sentry duty by their feeder!


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