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Miranda Hodgson

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How many birds can you spot without leaving home?

Posted by Miranda Hodgson on 07 Jan 2011 at 12:35 PM

You often imagine bird watchers as being dressed in drab green, sitting in hides in the middle of a marsh, crouched in woodland or crowding together in a church yard to see a rare visitor. You don’t imagine them to be sitting in a small, paved back yard, but it is from just such a yard that the keenest bird watcher I know, Mr John Davison, surveys the bird world. John has been watching birds for over 70 years now and, whilst he may not get about so well these days, it hasn’t prevented him from paying attention from his home in north Lincolnshire - looking out of the window, watching the trees, shrubs, hedges, neighbouring gardens and the skies above. Some are easier to spot than others, of course.



Male pheasants seem to move about with a curious stealth, as if they believe they are invisible.

 

 

 Female pheasants are less obvious

 

I'd come across John in the local woods, where I’d spot him standing still and gazing up into the trees. “Brown bear”, I always thought to myself at those times. I haven’t seen him for some years, but we still update one another with sightings and observations. Starting in November, John sent me a list he was compiling of the birds he had seen from his chair since April. By November, he’d seen 42 species of bird. By mid-December two more were added. By January 1st the list was up to 50 - and all without setting foot out of his garden.

I had the following message on New Years Day:

“Birds seen from my backyard in 2010. As follows:

Buzzard, Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Rook, Greenfinch, Jackdaw, Magpie, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Starling, House Sparrow, Hedge Sparrow, House Martin, Swift, Swallow, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Ring Dove, Wren, Peregrine Falcon, Marsh Harrier, Robin, Great Black-Backed Gull, Lesser Black-Backed Gull, Black-Headed Gull, Herring Gull, Bullfinch, Osprey, Chaffinch, Linnet, Canada Goose, Long-Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Pink-Footed Goose, Fieldfare, Waxwing, Meadow Pipit, Jay, Goldcrest, Mallard, Siskin, Pheasant, Red-Legged Partridge, Heron, Collared Dove, Stock Dove and Pied Wagtail. Birds heard include: Tawny Owl, Barn Owl, Blackcap and Cuckoo.

A grand total of fifty species of bird. All witnessed from my backyard, and you know how big/small that is!

How many more in 2011?”

If you’d like to find out some more about birds, why not take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Bird Watch at the end of January. There are plenty of pictures to help you find out what birds are visiting your garden and many suggestions for helping them as well.

 


 Gulls flying at sunset

Comments

sue1002 said:

That's an impressive list that your friend has seen Miranda :-)

When we had the really cold weather a couple of weeks back, we had a few seagulls feeding in the garden for the first time ever.

on 07 Jan 2011 at 02:02 PM

richardpeeej said:

Very interesting read as usual Miranda. We have recently seen some small flocks of waxings flying around in the trees outside. We have not seen these here before....Richard

on 07 Jan 2011 at 02:11 PM

How many birds can you spot without leaving home? | Gardening News said:

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on 07 Jan 2011 at 03:59 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

Seagulls in the garden - never had that, Sue. Yes, it is an impressive list!

How lovely to see the waxwings. I've heard reports of more of them about this year. I saw a flock of long-tailed tits a couple of days ago and that was good to watch.

on 07 Jan 2011 at 06:01 PM

sue1002 said:

Yes, the seagulls in the garden was a surprise to see, it was when we had the relatively deep snow, they came down for three days running to pick up some bread I had put out but since the weather warmed up a bit, they haven't been back.

on 07 Jan 2011 at 09:26 PM

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on 07 Jan 2011 at 10:19 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

I was surprised at how few birds I saw during that cold spell, Sue, even though I put out so much food for them. We had pidgeons and jackdaws, but not many small song birds at all. They're back now and I wonder where they all went.

on 08 Jan 2011 at 12:36 PM

Anna Gallés said:

congratulations! this is my bird list (seen from my suburban garden near Barcelona, in 2010).

Greenfinch, Magpie, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Crested Tit, Long tailed Tit, Starling, House Sparrow, House Martin, Swift, Alpine Swift, Swallow, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Robin, Black Redstart, Jay, Goldcrest, Firecrest, Siskin, Chaffinch, Serin, Red-Legged Partridge, Heron, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Blackcap, Sardinian Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Short-toed Treecreeper, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Rock Bunting

Tawny Owl (which uses a Washingtonia palm tree as its daytime roosting site)

plus a group of cranes flying over...

on 08 Jan 2011 at 05:41 PM

Miranda Hodgson said:

That's an impressive list, Anna. There are quite a few birds there that we don't see in the UK.

on 10 Jan 2011 at 11:45 AM

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on 09 Jun 2011 at 01:18 AM