Sunday, 29 December 2013

Garden Birding - a few surprises

Every week I record the wildlife that uses the garden, as part of the BTO's Garden Birdwatch Scheme. The recording runs from Sunday to Saturday, so this morning's session was the first for this week.

It started well with over 20 Goldfinches present feeding on and around the sunflower feeders. 6 Chaffinches and 6 Greenfinches were also recorded along with 3 Blue Tits, 1 Great Tit, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Robin, 3 Dunnocks, 7 Blackbirds, 2 Starlings, 2 Woodpigeons and 6 Collared Doves (including a mating pair).

These species are recorded weekly in varying numbers, but today I recorded another 3 species that are a bit more unusual. The first was a Fieldfare, a species which is recorded once or twice a year in the garden, usually during heavy snow. Today's bird flew into the garden briefly, before flying to feed on the Hawthorn bushes behind the garden.

The second bird was a Lesser Redpoll. This species is more common and is usually present throughout the winter in small numbers. I had a couple last week, and today's bird was feeding along with the Goldfinch on the sunflower hearts.

The final new bird was a very big surprise, a male Blackcap! Over wintering Blackcaps have become an increasingly common sighting in Britain over the last 20 years, but this was my first record in the garden. It spent about 10 minutes feeding in the Mahonia bush. Hopefully, it'll stay around for a while. More information about Blackcaps can be found here.

Blackcap on Mahonia

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