Sunday, 13 May 2007

Garden Birdwatch May 2007

The Blue Tits nesting in our Camera Nestbox have rather dominated posts recently. I thought I would address this, on behalf of the other birds in my garden, by doing a bird count over this weekend as activity in my garden has increased recently.

The results below were taken on Saturday between 8.30-9.30am. Top of the count was the Starling.


9 Starlings counted

Starlings have dramatically increased in numbers in the last 10 days or so. They are coming to the feeders in packs and are messily tossing food about as they eat. The smaller birds wait about and sometimes join them. The Woodpigeon gets quite aggressive when they feed near it.


7 Blackbirds counted

Blackbirds have visited my garden in good numbers for some time now. They are seen and heard most early in the morning - although they do visit throughout the day and are one of the last birds to be seen before dusk.

The pictures shown above are of a Blackbird male, top, and a juvenile. There were five males, one female and a juvenile in my count. The mystery surrounding the unusually large amount of sunflower hearts being eaten at the moment was solved when I did my count.

I watched the male blackbirds go away with beakfuls of up to five sunflower hearts and I saw one feeding a juvenile with them. The young juveniles are quite plump and brown and almost the same size as the male. They wait about the ground near the feeders. Between them and the recent invasion of starlings I will need to restock my supplies a week earlier than usual.


4 Greenfinches and 4 Chaffinches counted

Finches are popular in my garden but not all were seen for my count. We have not seen any Siskins since my post on March 21st. We had about eight visiting then – as one was sick I slowed up a little on filling the feeders and off they all went! All the finches appear to be sociable visiting in large groups together or mixed. Goldfinches too were missing from my count but they are still visiting my garden – the most I have ever counted of them has been 19!

Greenfinches, top, will feed at the feeders and on the ground enjoying the sunflower hearts. Chaffinch females, middle, look quite similar to the greenfinch and will travel through shrubs to get to the ground – two were counted. Chaffinch males, are often seen around the ground or sitting on branches just looking about – two were counted.


3 Woodpigeons counted

I’ll be honest when I say that I find myself opening in window and clapping my hands to scare off the woodpigeons when they are at the feeders in numbers. I did do this during my count quite a few times. The smaller birds don’t always move away when I do this. I don’t mind the odd woodpigeon strolling around the ground and feeding there – as long as they don’t damage plants! Sorry, I shouldn’t be selective I know.


2 Song Thrushes, 2 House Sparrows, and 2 Blue Tits counted

Song Thrushes, top, are seen regularly now enjoying the sultanas and sunflower hearts from the ground. They will even feed from the bird table and I have seen one on the bar of a feeder trying to get the sunflower hearts from there too.

House Sparrows, middle, come and go. Often there is a solitary one or two then a larger group will come along of about ten. I am seeing more males at the feeders at the moment. The largest numbers I have seen of House Sparrows was last October where we had to count visually in groups of tens – there were over 80! It was quite a sight when they were disturbed and all flew off together.

Blue Tit, bottom, numbers have decreased since our pair began nesting. Our male is often seen chasing off the competition as he did during my count. The photo above is of him sitting on his favourite perch.


1 Great Tit, 1 Robin, 1 Dunnock and 1 Jackdaw counted

Great Tit, top, was seen only briefly as our Blue Tit male chased him too. He did take a sunflower heart away with him and attempted to eat it on another tree but our sleuth male chased him from there too! What a handsome bird this is though – isn’t it?

Robins, middle, are back visiting my garden once more – they seemed to have a spell away. They are often seen chasing off the Dunnocks – although not in this count. I don't have a photo of the Dunnock yet - it moves about the ground around plants.

Jackdaws, bottom, have begun to visit my bird table taking its favourite nibble – the peanuts! It has the same problem as the Woodpigeon at the table as its size makes it a bit difficult to get in. It does manage though. It also gets the open window and clapping of hands treatment!


1 Blue Tit female in Nestbox

Finally, this bird count could be complete without mentioning our nesting female Blue Tit in our Camera Nestbox. All has gone quiet in the Nestbox at the moment – perhaps next weekend we will have some eggs hatched!! For most of the count she remained inside the Nestbox incubating her eggs. She did pop out briefly at one point and returned again.

All photographs above were taken in my garden.

4 comments:

Yolanda Elizabet said...

It's fun to see that all the birdies that visit your garden, visit mine too. What a pity you don't have a pic of the Dunnock yet because me and my dictionary have no idea what kind of bird that is.

Is it still 8 eggs?

BTW we at Bliss have mousies. ;-)

shirl said...

Hi Yolanda,

Lovely to hear you have the same birds in your garden in the Netherlands.

I will get a pic of the Dunnock yet. It is quite quick on the ground to catch on film.

Yes it is still 8 eggs and perhaps we could expect hatching this weekend!

Congrats on you Mouse Award - I am very pleased to see your work getting the recognition it deserves. Well done.

A wildlife gardener said...

What a wonderful blog, great photos and info about the more common garden birds.

What a great starting point, too, for anyone not familiar with garden birds. Schools could make use of that blog!

Your photos are amazing. I love the irridescence in the starlings' wings.

We have three pairs of jackdaws who nest in the three chimneys in our barn every year, thrush's nest most years and a blackbird's, a wren's and several starlings' and sparrows' nests.

We have several hundred sparrows who roost every night in the ivies growing up both eves of the barn. They chirp, as you know I'm sure, rather than sing...but I just love the fact that they converse with each other.

shirl said...

Hi Wildlife Gardener,

Thank-you so much for your kind comments. It has always been my intention to focus on my observations of the birds in my garden. I refer to books and websites for other info to support this. I am really enjoying using my camera to capture my visitors – I need to catch the dunnock and coal tit for my bird counts.

Funnily enough I have considered myself that this blog could be useful for schools - especially after my daughter completed a project herself. I have also asked a friend’s 9yr old son if he would like to write a post as a guest writer as he is very interested in the behaviour of birds.

I have seen Jackdaws at two of my neighbours chimney’s and I do believe they are interested in ours too! Yes, I agree, it is lovely to hear the birds chatter to each other.