Big Garden Birdwatch

The weekend of 24-25 January 2015 is the UK’s “Big Garden Birdwatch”.  The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been running these bird surveys for 36 years now.  This is my first year.


 These are the instructions.

1.  Watch the birds in your garden for one hour.

2.  Make a list of the birds that land in your garden, not those flying over.

3. Record the highest number of each species you see at the same time, not the total over the hour.

4. Send your list to RSPB.

Last year the top 10 species were: house sparrow, blue tit, starling, blackbird, woodpigeon, chaffinch, goldfinch, great tit, collared dove, and robin.  Click here if you want to take part this year.

Birds blackbird - Version 3

I was out in the garden on the drumlin today, so I have a pretty good idea of the birds I’m likely to see in the Big Garden Birdwatch.  The feeder brings in blue tits, coal tits and robins.  And it’s hard to imagine a whole hour going past without a blackbird or magpie flying in.

The birds didn’t take much notice of me today.  They can’t have known just how excited I was to try out a new lens and tripod for my Nikon D90.  My first day ever taking photos with a tripod – and it was great. I found the lens (Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm) surprisingly heavy, and the aluminium tripod (Manfrotto 055 with ball head) surprisingly light.

birds coal tit seed in mouth

 I will report back at the weekend with the results of my Big Garden Birdwatch.  My main problem may be the other member of the household who is keen on birdwatching.


16 Comments Add yours

  1. Wendy Kate says:

    I have the same problem…my cat brought me in a finch I I think it was) today. I managed to rescue it from the jaws of death and put it outside the front door (where the cat cannot go) Later I looked and it was gone so I hope it flew away and was not taken by a passing stray


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I’m sure the finch flew away to safety, but it would be terrible if some other cat took it, and now thinks that your front door is a deli counter!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha, that cat! She knows she’s NOT meant to be sitting there 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I’ve revealed the cat’s gender, and its relative innocence, in my reply to Linda.
      Bono is a farm cat. He’s supposed to be a hunter, living in a shed, not inside the house, but he finds that hard to accept. He has delusions of feline grandeur.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. BerLinda says:

    Amazing shots – well done! And that cat looks like she’s ready to pounce – poor birdies 😉


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I must leap to the cat’s defence.
      1. Very pretty cat but not a she. The cat is a he. Called Bono. We adopted his sister too, and named her Edge. She ran away after a year.

      2. Bono doesnt actually chase the garden birds. His favourite prey is mice from the fields. The only bird I’ve actually seen him take was a pheasant chick, from a nest in the field last summer.
      So I’m sorry I libelled the cat in my hunt for a punchline.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BerLinda says:

        Ha, he looks like he can take care of himself 😉 Maybe you can get another one and call it Larry Mullen?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Andrew says:

    I am surprised that House Sparrow is still so common. I thought they were following Tree Sparrows into decline. Good that they are not. Get the cat a bell for her collar. Worth a try 😊


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      As to cat, “she” and collar, see my reply to Linda’s comment.

      As to sparrows, the RSPB figures are interesting. Starlings and sparrows are in trouble. They just started from such high numbers that they still make the top 10. Do you have any idea what the top 10 species would be for Hong Kong?


      1. Andrew says:

        Probably starting with the 2 common bulbuls, Magpie Robin, maybe Crested Myna, Spotted Dove, Tree Sparrow (hooray), Maybe Cinereous Tit (like a Great Tit), Japanese White-eye? I am not sure to be honest but there are plenty to choose from. Here there has been a twitch for Common Swift this week and some people even twitch Common Starling!


      2. Karolyn Cooper says:

        I have a soft spot for the red-whiskered bulbul. That was the first bird that I photographed in my Bangalore garden two years ago: It seemed really exotic to me then. Hard to believe it’s common anywhere.
        But I’ve only seen white-eyes on your blog – are those white circles real or do you paint them on the birds’ faces yourself?


  5. I’m jealous of your garden! What lovely visitors! 🙂 I’m just trying to not go batty with the constant whine of construction which is remarkably drowning out the constant cawing of the crows! My fav pic too is your cat – definitely up to something! 🙂


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Does the construction start and stop at reasonable hours? My last few months in Bangalore were sleepless, as the hammering started earlier every day.


  6. Kim in Fiji says:

    NIFTY community challenge!! And now I know your camera. I bet it is an SLR and I’d never be able to use it, but still nice to know the name and to dream… Is the blue tit going after a lizard? I thought your hubby was going to be the fellow birdwatcher and laughed aloud when I saw the photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. pilipala51 says:

    Glad you are enjoying your new lens and tripod 🙂 Nice pics!


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