RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 25-26 January 2014

Loads of people even at this moment are recording birds for the Big Garden Birdwatch, run by the RSPB. Citizens were asked to record the highest number of a species of bird in their garden for one hour, then send in their results on the RSPB’s website or on a paper form. The most interesting sighting of my hour was when a small flock of five Redpolls came and fed from my Goldfinch feeder. The most frequent time that Redpolls come to a garden feeding station like mine is when the damp and rainy conditions force the pine trees to close their cones, therefore prompting finches such as Siskins and Redpolls to come and feed on smaller seeds on our bird tables and in our feeders, such as the nyjer seeds in my Goldfinch feeder. I called my dad over for the Big Garden Birdwatch and I got a good video and he got a good photo. This is his photo:

Redpolls on the Goldfinch Feeder

Redpolls on the Goldfinch Feeder

I hope many of you will take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch and I will be delighted if you shared your results via comment.

Garden List expansion

Like many other birders, I keep a Garden List as well as a life list. This morning I was hoping to expand my garden list by maybe a species or two by doing a simple Birdwatch for an hour. I set up my binoculars at the windowsill in my bedroom and started watching my garden from 10:30. The first species to arrive was a pair of Robins, foraging in the leaf litter. Then a Blue Tit flew onto the feeder followed by another and another and another until there was about ten on and around the feeder. Just then some action started to happen. A flock of six Redwings flew into our garden then another six and the number of Redwings kept going up and up and up. by ten minutes I had counted just 100 Redwings in our garden. It was a spectacular sight, but not a new species for my garden list. More birds kept on coming, Chaffinches, Carrion Crows, Woodpigeons, even a Buzzard flew overhead. No new garden species though. Suddenly I spotted a small streaky bird at the foot of our giant Oak Tree, it was a little smaller than a chaffinch and probably a type of finch. I looked at it through my binoculars and spotted a patch of red on its forehead. A Redpoll. I had seen a Lesser Redpoll in our garden before, washing in our bird bath, but most of its features seemed to point to a Common Redpoll, such as the fact that going from its head downwards, there was a smaller, thinner white wing bar followed by a larger, wider one. I found out that a Common Redpoll was only seen once in Sussex in 2012 and even experts have difficulty telling them apart. It would also be a new species for my garden list! I couldn’t get very good photos due to the fact that it was so small, it was quite far away for my camera to reach and we were looking at it through a window. After it had flown into a laurel bush on the west side of the garden, I put the sighting into BTO’s birdtrack as a redpoll species. At the end of the birdwatch, I had seen 199 individual birds, a record for my garden. That number included:

7 Robins

20 Blue Tits

20 Common Wood-Pigeons

1 Buzzard

100 Redwings

10 Great Tits

10 Chaffinches

2 Dunnocks

3 Blackbirds

3 Jays

16 Carrion Crows

3 Magpies

1 Bullfinch

1 Redpoll spp.

2 Collared Doves

One of the Redwings