Monday, 1 February 2010

RSPB Birdwatch results 2010

If you took part with a birdwatch you can submit your results here. All results will be collated and the RSPB usually publish them during middle/late March. For my count, the Big Garden Birdwatch recording sheet was printed and waiting. A new montage image was also sitting waiting. Too organised perhaps?

Yep… Saturday was spent on an unexpected trip. Sunday went by watching a tennis final, moving a nestbox and sorting out some wiring. Time slot available for my bird count hour… 3.50-4.50pm! Due to the lateness of the hour I think gold stars are in order for the birds that made an appearance…

Click on image to enlarge and see details.


The montage above shows photos, from my garden, of the birds featured on the recording sheet. It shows at a glance which birds could have visited during my count. The illustrations were screen grabs from the sheet as these birds have never visited my garden. The Blackbird, with the biggest gold star, took top spot in my garden this year.

Other birds that I might have seen (not on the sheet) include Siskins, the Tree sparrow and the Sparrowhawk. I suspect I’m not the only one who counted fewer species and numbers than on a usual day. I’ve enjoyed seeing the results of other bloggers counts over the weekend.

So which nestbox was moved? Well, on collecting links for a previous posting mentioning this count I discovered that perhaps my new camera nestbox (hidden in my pergola) may just get unnoticed as the flight path wasn’t open enough.


The ladder in the top right photo shows the original position of this nestbox.
You can also see that the entrance will now face my arbour
giving great views from there should this box be used.


With frozen fingers, we moved it to the location I had originally considered, still on the pergola, on an outside pillar which you can see above. Much ivy had to be cut away to reveal an area so that the box could be attached but I will allow much of it to grow back as long as the birds can get easy access to the entrance and we have access to the roof for cleaning and the camera.

Positioned facing a tree I am hopeful this nestbox will get noticed now. However, to increase the odds I plan hanging peanuts in a seed feeder from one of the higher branches via an ‘s’ hook. This has been very popular with the blue tits especially over the cold spell we’ve had. Around lunchtime today a new record of 8 Blue tits visited my garden feeders!

Coming back to this nestbox design I have to say I am slightly concerned about the floor. As you will see in the montage above it has gaps along its length. Now, it is possible that the manufacturer intended these to allow ventilation below the nest... but on the other side I do wonder about vulnerable very young chicks getting cold. After watching a female Blue tit inspect our other camera nestbox I also wonder what she’d make of these gaps. I hope we get a chance to see.

I’m guessing that everyone with a nestbox in their garden is watching for new activity at them now. Even without a camera inside you can still see and hear stuff too. I do hope this year will be a good one for yours… fingers crossed :-D


All photos above were taken by me in my garden. The nestbox ones were taken on January 31st 2010.

19 comments:

Miranda Bell said...

Dear Shirl - hope you're surviving what must be such a cold winter - I hear that you have snow up in that area again - we've not had anymore here but it's still v. cold! I think my gardening season is definately going to be off to a later start than usual.

I love the bird montage that you've done and interesting in the variations this year - we've had no siskins, no brambling, and no nuthatches here - but more robins and many more blue tits and loads of field fares... - you win some you lose some!

Hope you have a good week and will look forward to seeing more results on the RSPB Watch... take care Miranda

shirl said...

Hi there Miranda, LOL… I can’t deny we won’t be glad to see the back of the snow. Yes, we opened curtains to it snowing again today although the sun has melted a lot. It’s tomorrow that is forecasted to be a widespread covering.

Hope the sun has come out with you today too. Yes, I can imagine that you’ll be very busy when your late 2010 gardening season kicks off… eventually :-D

Thanks, I enjoyed getting the montage ready… pity I didn’t have much to add to it though. I agree, the cold is very likely to kick up some interesting stats this year… you’d think anyway. I agree about the win/loose too. It’s certainly not dull watching out our windows at the moment :-)

Thank-you, wishing you a good week too :-D

Liz said...

Last weekend was quite busy for the birds here, I think it was likely due to the very cold day where most of the lawn never lost its frost covering!

I hope we don't get any snow here, we've had a tiny bit of sleet as I got off the bus and came home but it must've only lasted a few minutes and there's no sign of it having settled.

Dan said...

I had a similar experience with my garden birdwatch - not many birds at all! Have you noticed that they seem to appear and disappear at certain times of the day? (Well, they do in my garden - I wonder if they have a timetable for getting round all the neighbourhood feeders??).
I did see a male Blackcap who has been visiting of late, though when we first moved in we used to have many Coal Tits, and they seem to have disappeared, whilst the Blues and Greats have reduced in numbers visiting too.
Best wishes
Dan

Anna said...

A good count of birds Shirl considering the lateness of the hour. I should have done my count on Saturday when it was blue and sunny instead of a sleety and grey Sunday. Shame about the tennis result - hopefully it will be a case of third time lucky for young Andy.

Midmarsh John said...

Like Dan I notice definite times for birds to visit. Here it is soon after daybreak, midday and just before sunset. I guess they go by the position of the Sun, not that it shows much these days.

Hope your nest box move brings some activity. Mine is being ignored again, maybe with the drop in temperatures.

Foody said...

What a lovely selection of birdies and superbly photograhed.
I just noticed those fav gardens of yours and you have Cambo, Scotland there. Is Cambo not in Northumberland?

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely montage of photos. It will be interesting to see the results of the Birdwatch when they're published.

ShySongbird said...

Considering the lateness of the hour you did well with your count Shirl. I'm sure some of the 'regulars' hide in the hedges until the hour is up :)

It sounds like you had a busy weekend. I watched the tennis too, it was a shame he didn't win but he had nothing to reproach himself for, I'm sure he will do it eventually, he has the grit and determination that so many Brits have lacked in the past and he has plenty of time yet.

Very good luck with the nestbox :)

Shady Gardener said...

What beautiful photos! It must have taken quite a bit of time to create this post. But, thank you!!

shirl said...

Hi Liz, yes everyone says the same about busy feeders on the very cold days. Ah… since you posted this comment I see you have had snow again… great pics though :-D

shirl said...

Hi Dan, yes, that’s always a pity when your count doesn’t really reflect what you usually see. I’m not certain that there is a clear cut pattern of birds feeding in my garden. Yes, perhaps some do follow a timetable though ;-)

Great that you saw a Blackcap but what a pity you’re not seeing coal tits and many blue or great tits. I have to say I’m seeing the most now that I’ve ever seen. I put it down to one thing too… the peanuts in seed feeders are going down an absolute storm with the blue and great tits.

My tip (as of yesterday) to get Coal tits visiting your feeders is to put out some black sunflower hearts. They love them :-D

shirl said...

Hi Anna, best laid plans too… just one of those things. Saturday was to be my count day too but I ended up driving my daughter back to Uni through blue skies and into snow! Yep… it was a shame about the tennis but Federa was just too strong once again. Yes, I do think Andy will get there yet :-D

shirl said...

Hi John, interesting observations there. I guess the sun is a factor in my garden too but we do seem to get a fairly regular flow of birds throughout the day. Thanks, here’s hoping. Yes, cold temps can’t help but as the days get longer the chances will get higher for your nestboxes :-D

shirl said...

Hi Foody, thank-you… love your choc photos ;-) Just Googled and you're completely correct… there is a village in Northumbria called Cambo. However, I have visited this garden a few times (coincidentally posting with photos throughout the weekend) and it is just outside St Andrews :-D

shirl said...

Hi Juliet, thank-you. I agree the results this year will be very interesting in view of the weather we’ve had :-)

shirl said...

Hi Jan, yes it was a great pity I ran out of time for my count especially as I spent so long on my montage for the results. LOL… yep I do think you could be right there re the hiding :-D

Yes, it was a full weekend that was for sure. Definitely, Andy played well but Federa was so strong. I have to say I had to respect the play of Federa and who wants to see a good player lose his run too. Andy has age on his side yet as you say.

Thanks, it really would be brilliant to get one camera nestbox with a successful brood :-D

shirl said...

Hi Shady, thank-you! Yep… I have to confess it did, so I was well gutted when I ran out of time for my count. Ah well… glad you enjoyed it though :-D

Anonymous said...

In the last week we have had a flock of birds not seen by us before they are as big as a blackbird have white flash on the edge of ther wings and looking in my bird book look like tree pipets sbout a dozen arrive every morning with all the blackbirds i feed with raisons.