Sunday 26 January 2014

The Big Garden Birdwatch in Wembley

My back garden
The RSPB's  annual 'Big Garden Birdwatch' is always an opportunity to sit in a comfortable armchair, cup of coffee at hand, to do almost nothing for an hour.

I have a tiny garden but it is designed to be nature friendly and is regularly visited by birds, However, the annual observation period is subject to interference from some unwelcome visitors. A pair of pigeons will perch on the seed feeder bracket for hours. They are unable to reach the feeders themselves but their bulky presence puts off smaller birds. They peer dimly at the  blue tits who bravely flit back and forth to the feeders but don't seem to have worked out that this is not time well spent!

They are the bird equivalent of dog in a manger.

There is also a neighbour's black cat that positions itself below the feeder and mews plaintively at the clinging birds, apparently in an effort to persuade them to plummet into its open mouth.

This morning the pigeons kept away and it was too wet for the cat, but a pair of raucous magpies made up for them and kept scaring off the other birds.

Nevertheless these were my results for the period between 10 and 11am:

Blue tit (5)
Great tit (4)
Nuthatch (2)
Dunnock (2)
Magpie (2)
Great spotted woodpecker (1)
Robin (1)
Blackcap (1)
Wood pigeon (1)
Jay (1)
Blackbird (1)

Each bird is counted only once  so when there is more than one they have to be in the garden at the same time - not the total seen over the hour as many of these will be returnees. Long tailed tits, a frequent visitor in groups of six or more, are missing. They usually visit mid-afternoon. I also see chaffinches and goldfinches but have not seen green finches for a couple of years after they were hit by disease.

The pair of nuthatches are regular visitors. They frighten off the blue tits and great its before feeding. This footage taken from my window shows a nuthatch's beauty and versaitility:

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