2015/16 Garden Bird Survey underway

Birdwatch Ireland’s 2015/16 Garden Bird Survey is underway. I always look forward to it and there’s always something happening.

This is my week one count: Collarded Dove 2, Wren 1, Dunnock 1, Robin 1, Blackbird 2, Song Thrush 1, Blackcap 1, Goldcrest 1, Coal Tit 2, Blue Tit 4, Great Tit 2, Magpie 2, Starling 10, House Sparrow 30, Chaffinch 7, Greenfinch 5, Goldfinch 4, Bullfinch 2 & Redpoll 10 (abundance 88, species 19).

I won’t put my counts up every week but this is a fairly typical count and similar to last season’s first count. Numbers don’t tell the full story either; the 2 bullfinches were two beautiful males on some old raspberry canes and I only saw them once. At the same time a Song Thrush and Dunnock were just beneath them in the undergrowth and a Wren was flitting around – I tried to get them all in one shot but had to settle for the Song Thrush (from inside the house).

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6 January 2016. A Sparrowhawk flew into the garden yesterday and landed in an apple tree. It cleared the garden of birds more effectively than any cat! This is only my 7th time to record one and it’s three years since I last saw one in the garden. I was in my conservatory but when I tried to sneak into the house for my camera it flew away. I’m kicking myself now that I didn’t observe it for longer while I had the chance. Here’s a link to a video I took (from inside the house) four years ago of one that did linger.

11 January 2016. Four Siskins on the peanut feeder today, the first of the winter.

29 January 2016. A beautiful Goldcrest appeared briefly in my berberis, the first since week one. Still haven’t seen a Long-tailed Tit this winter.

12 February 2016. Watching two nice female Bullfinches today. One of them was playing around with a dried leaf – I wonder if her nesting instincts are starting to kick in? I am amused these days watching the Blackbirds in my garden trying to sort out their pairing arrangements for the summer. Got a couple of nice shots of a Siskin and a Wren – the latter in particular has proved elusive to me over the years as it never stays still for more than a second.

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