Blue Monday: Big Garden Birdwatch

Blue Tit

Blue Monday: Big Garden Birdwatch

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is a citizen science project that has been running for almost fourty years and helps provide a “snapshot” of bird numbers across the UK. The data collected helps inform the RSPB of any problems in bird numbers. Steps can then be taken to identify the reasons for these problems and find resolutions. The data collected over the years can also provide us with some great success stories. Since the start of Birdwatch, blue tit numbers have actually increased by twenty percent!

On Saturday morning I joined a group of wildlife enthusiasts at RHS Wisley Gardens for a tour of the grounds, identifying different bird species, led by experts from the North West Surrey branch of the RSPB. The highlight of the morning for me was a flock of siskin found near the bottom ofย  Battleston Hill. They were very silhouetted againgst the morning skies but I finally managed to get a shot of one to show you the wonderful yellow colourings. We estimated there were around fourty birds in the flock.



On our way up to the orchards we saw a mistle thrush in the oaks. I shall be looking out for it in the area as I couldn’t get a close enough view for a photograph. The flocks of fieldfare and redwing were also keeping their distance from us in the orchards but we witnessed them swooping and diving to outwit the local buzzard. Quite a sight! There are more flocks of redwing feeding on the lawn areas at Seven Acres and around the lakes. Recent rainfall has turned the ground marsh-like, bringing up plenty of insects and worms for these hungry winter visitors. Among the flocks are other thrush, robins and blackbirds all taking advantage of this feast. I was delighted to see the Egyptian Geese have returned to the lake again! Hopefully they will have their goslings at Wisley again this year.

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

We finished our birdwatch at the birdhide situated at the far end of the Pinetum, on the banks of the Wey. With so many of us in the group it was hard for me to get many photographs but we were all delighted to see the nuthatch, chaffinches, robins, parakeets, ducks, moorhens and very healthy numbers of tits. There were great, blue and coal tits all visiting the feeders and flitting around in the trees and scrub. I’m putting one of my shots of a blue tit, with absolutely wonderful colouring, into this week’s Fotospeed challenge. A perfect example of a citizen science success story!

Many thanks to Amy from RHS Wisley for organising the workshops and educational events at the gardens, and to NW Surrey RSPB for leading the event and providing some great information and close-up views with their spotting scopes.

14 comments on “Blue Monday: Big Garden Birdwatch

  1. Your Siskin is adorable. The bird life here has been very different this year to last. No flocks of fieldfares or starlings since early December. No Goldfinches so far either. The usual sparrows, tits, chaffinches, a robin or two, blackbird, pied wagtail and a few wrens, and my magpies. Oh, and a pair of collared doves who love to ransack the feeder! Lots of crows and jackdaws as usual. Wisley sounds like a wonderful place to watch the birds.

    • Thanks Barbara and sorry for such a late response! I’ve finally got a new phone with a battery that works properly so I can actually reply to messages a bit more easily now. So glad you feel like you are watching them yourself! I like to try to make my wildlife images come alive ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Thanks Adrian ๐Ÿ˜Š Yeah, the siskins were challenging! They move on so quickly. There are so many Egyptian geese resident in the UK now. I have noticed over the years that they are usually the first to nest so I’m now looking out for goslings!

      • The geese were common around water in Kenya, always out and about, always noisy, they bring back a lot of memories. But we still don’t have many over here in the Bristol area.

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