Snow was falling over my garden this morning making a Desert Island Plant Challenge definitely one for the imagination. Yes, I'll suggest no limits to growing conditions whatsoever in this challenge! Purely for fun this one. Let's assume that there is food on the Island - will that make it easier I wonder.
Would you like to join me on Thursday? I’ll set up a link list for you to leave the URL of your posting on mine so we can share in our choices. I will try to invite as many bloggers as I can but if you could help me by passing the word around that would be great. Feel free to copy my photo below. No problem if you don’t have a blog either you can still take part by adding your choices as a comment to my posting - the more the merrier. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's plant selections and I am guessing at a few too!
Seals on Kinshaldy beach (near St Andrews) during Sept 2004
Perhaps you’d like a Bird Challenge? This weekend sees the 30th RSPB BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH. Wow… Congratulations are in order here! I have to confess pre blog I had no idea this even existed. The RSPB is delighted: It may be our 30th birthday but we're only celebrating because everyone taking part has helped make the event such a huge success. It suggests: So go on, spend time with friends, family and children, put on your party hat, have a bit of birthday cake and enjoy yourself.
This sounds like fun to me too. However, on a more serious note our garden counts really can help the RSPB with their records here in the UK. It will highlight species in decline and on the increase. Taking part is easy too.
The RSPB goes on: For the last 30 years, the way we do the survey has remained exactly the same – watch the birds in your garden for an hour and record the maximum number of each species you see at one time. You really don't need to be an expert to take part. Whether you're young or old, an 'expert' or a beginner, there really is no better place to start than our Big Garden Birdwatch. I’d have to agree with that. It does also help having more than one pair of eyes when you are counting!
You could consider when you do your bird count but don’t worry if you don’t see as many birds as you usually do. The RSPB says that with the huge amount of data they get it all evens out. However, I do appreciate it can be disappointing if you feel it doesn’t fully reflect the birds you usually see. We had a Sparrowhawk visit last year during ours and it may well do again this year. I plan to do my count between 11.30-12.30am. Any earlier and I may not see the numbers of finches I can see on a cold snowy day like today so I am giving my count a chance to be accurate.
The RSPB gives tips on their website and from there you can print a counting sheet which is very helpful too. Submitting counts can be done online which the RSPB encourages to keep costs down. However, you can also pick up the leaflet shown above. Overleaf you will find an address card to fill in and post to receive a Big Garden Birdwatch pack. Time is running out if you want to send away for one. Oh… but you might want to attend one of the events organised by the RSPB being held throughout the country. I am sure you will enjoy taking part. Oh... one last thing - you don't count birds flying over.
Finally, if you can't see the online form on the website don't worry as they will open on 24 January 2009 for you to enter your 2009 counts. The RSPB will collate and publish the results in March 2009. From memory I think the results are out near the end of the month. Enjoy counting your birds or choosing your plants! I'm looking forward to hearing all about them. Once again if anyone from outside the UK wants to join in with a bird count too please add them to my Birdcount posting. Have fun!
I am guessing you may recognise the bird in the photo above taken in my garden at lunchtime today! Yes, the Starling can be a bit of a bully at the feeders but here in the UK there are worries about its decline in numbers. I am guessing my blogging friends in America will once again offer to send some our way :-)