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I think spring was in the air about a week ago but its on hold at the moment,lots of birds at the pyracthania nearly all the berries gone,I hope the frogs and toads in my pond have returned to hibernate after getting excited last week at the prospect of spring.The Dunnock bird is much slimmer than the sparrow and it darts about with shall we say more grace and they have such a lovely song and wheres as you see a gang of sparrows you only one or two of Dunnocks.
I've been doing a bit of practising today as well, they really do move quick. All the usuals have been in the garden all day and then I managed to get a few glances at this bird that I have never seen before. Large, slim with black marks/rings around eyes, creamy/fawn coloured body and beautiful blue panels in it's wings. There's a wood of pine trees across the way from me, looked as if it came from over there.
Anyway made my day seeing something that I had never seen before
Was it one of these?
Sounds like you might have seen a Jay, hollie hock. Have a look on the RSPB's website - not quite as you describe, but not many other options.
Cowslip, don't worry about the bird count; the methodology adopted by the scientists at the RSPB allows for all sorts of variables, and they only draw conclusions that are appropriate to the data they collect.
I've been having a look around trying to ID it but only saw it for a few seconds each time. It definately had bright blue bars in it's wings and a similar body colouring of a Jay. It was a beautiful looking bird. Funny until now I had always thought that Jay's were small birds
They're pretty much the same size as Magpies, but without the long tail. I've just been watching three of them feeding on the little crab apples on next door's tree - like a Japanese painting.
Your description of a Japanese painting rings true with what I saw today, beautiful distinct markings. Thanks to both for helping me ID it, I've seen my first Jay.
Seen it again today
I have 2 jays that fly in and grab the monkey nuts that I put out for the squirrels they do look pretty I nearly had a photo today but it was gone when I got my camera - maybe next time.
I got my RSPB big bird watch count pack so I am ready to bird watch just have to wait until the weekend, have printed out the chart to help as well with counting.
Anybody else got there pack yet?
yep got my chart but how do you tell if you are counting two different birds or one thats flown off and come back again?
You count the maximum number of any species that you can see at one time. So if you see 1, then you see another later, it counts as 1.
Ah got you The other question is that I have only recently started putting food out on a birdtable. I used to just have a robin and two pair of blackbirds in my garden with the odd wood pigeon and various passing birds but since I have put out a birdtable with food on over the last month I have had regular visits from Great Tits - Blue tits - Chaffinch - Bullfinch - a singular ground feeding Dunnock . Strangely these birds only arrive around 10.30am and leave by 1pm so I am thinking they are obviously nesting elsewhere and perhaps even feeding elsewhere before they get to me. I have put up 3 nestboxes to try to attract birds to become sited in my garden.
It would seem then that assuming wherever they are nesting the homeowners will count them too they will be again counted twice or is this an accepted anomoly and that it is not actually an attempt to get accurate numbers but an overview of the sort of average visitations people are experiencing in their gardens and that the whole totals will be averaged by the number of respondents?
Sorry for the long winded response.
The birds will be doing a round of all the best feeding stations in the area.
The BBW can never be an accurate count but RSPB will get an overall picture of whats where and whether some are increasing/decreasing.
Shouldn't think there's much nesting going on at the moment, though there were a few signs before the weather moved in.
Harrogate B. I'm pretty sure the statisticians employed by the RSPB have mathematical ways to take this into account. It's more about the common-ness of species as exact numbers can never be counted. Lucky you having a bullfinch, I haven't seen one for 20 years here!
When you've been doing the count for a few years you notice trends yourself. I never had goldfinches until about 10 years ago. Always had starlings, now never see any. Never had house sparrows until about three years ago. And I expect you can guess my favourite garden bird
I've noticed a lot of changes here. Over 20 years goldfinches have gone from seeing one now and agin to 25+ around the feeders. reed buntings are now much inevidence though it may be that I hadn't identified them previously. Fieldfares that used to pass through and strip the hawthorn berries are now staying around for more food.
The Bullfinches are remarkably shy despite the male having a much greater size than either the Blue tit or Great tit they tend to just perch and watch everyone else feeding. Super colour though. I am just going to cut and paste in here from my website blog regarding my birding experiences...
From my blog
Today I thought I would reflect on feeding wild birds on one of my companies birdtables with a few thoughts thrown in.
As a boy I lived on a fairly leafy street which gave birds the opportunity to nest locally with impunity. Indeed there were masses of Sparrows in flocks around where I lived. One particular irksome result was that blob of poo on the newly washed car I had laboured over to earn pocket money from my mum or dad. seagulls , Robins , Blackbirds Pigeons Song thrushes and so forth were the birds generally more local to by suburban environment. Birds were everywhere and Plentiful. Birds weren't fed except in harsh winters of which there were many when bread crusts and bacon rinds and orange peels would make the winter fayre for the feathered neighbours.
I moved to a more rural setting in a village and now birds were just as plentiful but a little more ornate. A neighbour kept Guinea Fowl as an extra attraction but Collared Doves, Turtle Doves, Wood Pigeons and many small birds such as Siskins,Blue Tits ,Goldfinches,Chaffinches and more kept my garden busy and colourful. There was no feeding the birds as the garden with its various plants and climbers kept them happy enough to nest and live in my garden without encouragement.
A final move saw me back in a suburban elnvironment and once again there was a change in the avian population. Initially there were Wood pigeons , Thrushes , Blackbirds , Robins , Wrens and to a smaller extent Sparrows. The last couple of years saw all but the Blackbirds disappear from my Garden. I guess I should not be surprised as I had never attempted to feed them assuming nature would manage quite nicely without me. It was however a bit of a worry as I enjoyed the visits by the colourful and lively birds that we all know and love.
Then the moment of realisation came. Bird feeding had become popular , hedgerows in the countryside had reduced leaving less opportunities for our native seed eating birds to thrive but urban feeding had increased to take up some of the slack.
So I went to my workshop and put out two birdtables in my garden and duly added some rather swanky food to them. (Spoiled? I think so).
Within a matter of a few days I suddenly discovered that Great Tits were within my tables grasp, as were Blue Tits , Chaffinches , Bullfinches and as usual my Blackbirds.
So I have had a pleasant time observing birdlife suddenly spring to life in my garden. . . . and so i aim to keep it.
One thing I did notice. Harwood was an early adopter of the RedKite release programme. I keep getting a couple of Kites over my house like some War of the Worlds Martian ships looking for fodder. The birdtables empty pretty quick till they have passed over.
Does anyone have a view on whether the Red Kite release program has affected small bird numbers?
I live in West Cornwall and we only had one very slight dusting of snow the temps were up to 8c . My question is , has anyone from the Truro area seen Waxwings? All the cold weather east must of pushed birds further down southwest . We have seen a lot more Blackbirds and thrush family birds but I wonder how far southwest Waxwings have been seen, or have all the berries gone by now ?
F.T., Waxwings have certainly been seen in Cornwall this winter. They are never seen as frequently as further north.
Harrogate, the British Trust for Ornithology do much more accurate surveys of bird numbers and trends; visit their website to get a flavour of it. But enjoy the Garden Birdwatch and don't worry too much about the science!
Thanks Joe, I was hoping someone from Truro area may say "There's 200 in Tescos carpark" and I could of dashed down there. I'll look up the BTO website and see if there are any sites in Cornwall or any local bloggers. Here's hoping.