Thursday, 29 January 2015

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch & The Winner Of The Smartie....

The Winner of the Smartie is...... everyone who guessed it was a Dormouse Box. Sorry this is a little later than anticipated as the post it relates to was a few days back :o) The boxes are put up in the woods to monitor dormouse activity. As far as I'm aware they don't have a high hit rate- perhaps the dormice are wise to it? Anyway, if you would like to claim your winning smartie please leave me a message in the comments and I'll post one to you :o)


Over the weekend I did the RSPB garden bird watch. I do it every year and numbers seem to be down this year, both my own and those of friends who've been recording in their gardens for years as well. I wonder whether the mild winter weather and good summer means there's still food outside the gardens which may be preferable?

We have, on one occasion, had a Kingfisher sitting on our fence, not during the birdwatch weekend sadly because I would love to add him to my list- how cool would that be?! I watched for him this time but he didn't show up. Here is my list so you can compare with your own:

16 Sparrows
2 Blue tits
2 Great tits
4 Blackbirds
1 Coal tit
1 Wren
1 Marsh Tit
1 Great Spotted Woody
2 Nuthatches
1 Chaffinch
2 Collared Doves
1Jackdaw
2 Wood pigeon
1 Magpie
4 Long Tailed tits 

A total of 15 species. The weather wasn't great for photos, so here are a few birdy pics from my own library, starting with Apple, the little blackbird chick we raised in 2011. For a few weeks after she'd fledged out into the woods around the house she would come when I whistled her. It was magical, having a wild bird appear out of a nearby tree, fly down and land on the fence beside me. The first few times she actually flew into me because she hadn't quite worked out her flying agility.

She would also fly in through our bedroom window at 6am and land on my pillow and sing to me for some meal worms. The interesting thing about this was that when I was away for a weekend she didn't come in at all and no one saw her around the garden, but the window was still open and M was home. He thought she might have died, which upset me greatly as they found a dead blackbird on the lawn (although L said it didn't look like her). Anyway, I got home on the Sunday night and no one had seen her since the Thursday morning when she'd last come in for breakfast, and then I woke up on Monday morning with a blackbird on my pillow chirruping and cocking her head from side to side as she looked at me. She never landed on M's side (although she would quite happily ride about on his head or shoulder), and she wouldn't come to anyone else when they whistled for her. She was my baby.

I used to take her into L's bedroom where she would sing him awake too. He was probably the only child in the UK being woken up for school by a wild blackbird chirping busily at him!

Most summers here we have fledglings who get into trouble and need assistance. On the whole we  leave them for nature to work things out. It is illegal to take a wild bird into captivity; they have very precise needs so you really need to know what you're doing. We only intervene if it would mean the baby bird dying without help. More often than not they don't survive, but every now and then they make it and fledge properly into the wild and independence. Apple was one of our success stories.








Blue tit



Male chaffinch and blue tit

great tit

Marsh tit

robin



Long tailed tit baby


Male green finch


long tailed tit

male black cap

female black cap

male siskin

GSW

GSW baby




muthatch


Poppet (our Dunnock)

Wishing you all a good day,

CT :o)

38 comments:

  1. Lovely to see the GSW babies again, it reminds me how cute they are. Roll on June.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it brought back memories for me too. Roll on summer...

      Delete
  2. Hi CT. That is an amazing story about the Blackbird and the rest of the photographs are very good. I was away and could not do the garden watch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd love to know what you get in your garden Margaret :o)

      Delete
  3. What a magical blackbird story! Apple must have imprinted on you (is that the phrase I'm looking for?! My brain isn't functioning properly today!!) Really envious of your blackcap visitors and siskin visitors! We only got 12 sp. for BGBW last weekend, but most of our usual birdy friends turned up :) lovely photos at per CT :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The interesting thing was that she came to me as a fledgling, not a hatchling- I'm not sure whether imprinting works at that late stage? I felt very privileged to have had that experience, it was simply magical. Glad all your feathered friends turned up, I haven't seen the Siskins this year- there is usually a huge flock so I'm a little concerned. xx

      Delete
  4. Your pics are stunning as always. I'm not a religious person by any stretch but when I see a Robin and they look directly at me someone I know dies, like they have been sent with a message. I know I sound like a complete nutter so just ignore me!!

    Don't panic I think you can block crazy people ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember you mentioning that before. I don't think you're crazy at all. White feathers often float from the sky when I am in a quandary over something and need a little special assistance. There's more to life than we see :o)

      Delete
  5. Wow, what fantastic pictures, and such a lovely story about the blackbird. Your bird watch list is most impressive, although it's a shame if it's lower than previous years. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It'll be interesting to see if the whole count is down nationwide. Hopefully not, although it won't necessarily mean numbers are down, just that they aren't in gardens xx

      Delete
  6. You can officially be called 'bird whisperer' what a lovely tale about the blackbird. You have taken some great bird shots there - my favourites have to be the Long Tailed Tits - I love it when they all come in together happy as can be, tails sticking out in all directions on the nut feeder - they make my day. We counted 17 different varieties, not bad considering most years they seem to disappear when bird count days come along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've always looked after baby birds, ever since I raised a Swallow who kept dropping out of the nest when I was nine :o) My grandmother was the same- she always had various shoe boxes containing small injured things she was nursing back to health. We gets lots of LTTs here, such busy little birds. The babies are adorable, little round balls of noisy fluff. You did well with your count :o)

      Delete
  7. Great, I'll have a red Smartie please! We used to use the red ones as lipstick when we were kids..... :-)

    Love the blackbird story - that's so cute. And you got a good selection of birds there. Really lovely photos and I'm envious that you get Blackcaps on your fatballs. I hear them here and see them once in a blue moon, but they have no interest in the feeders. The baby long tailed tit is just adorable. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's on its way... :o) I'd forgotten how they stain lips, how funny!

      Haven't seen the Black caps yet this year- usually I hear them more often than see them too. They are beautiful birds and it's always such a treat when they do appear, especially if they come in a pair.
      And as for the cheeky little LTTs, well! I could wrap them up and snuggle them all day, if that doesn't sound too weird! xx

      Delete
  8. I always think Robins are my ancestors perching on a fork or pike and no doubt thinking:

    "He's not doing that right."

    Usual great pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do have that look about them don't they? Our Robins can be Very Stern Indeed. A garden just wouldn't be the same without them though. I used to leave a small pile of meal worms for Apple on the outside of the window sill. It took about half a day for one of the Robins to discover it and eat the lot!

      Delete
    2. I read somewhere Dave that Robins learned to follow pigs, who are turning over the soil with their noses, and hence revealing worms, grubs and so on - and that they continued the habit with humans, thinking we are just (more upright) pigs digging!

      Delete
    3. I think they started out as woodland birds so presumably that behaviour came from following wild boars and got transferred to farmed pigs and humans. Clever birds :o)

      Delete
  9. I loved reading this so heartwarming when the story ends well . We have managed a few that needed us to get them to fledgling stage. I rember the robin I raised ( our USA robins are huge compared to your sweet little UK guys) Yes raised him right through til fledgling and he did well and ventured back into the wild.For for a while he use to fly tree to tree when I rode my horse trying to follow me ~ it felt a bit like the Snow White scene where the birds would follow her all around. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember the baby robin you had last year- I think his mummy had raised that one but he was still following you about asking for food. It is such a magical experience having this kind of contact with wild creatures. Nice to have you back Willow :o)

      Delete
  10. I missed the birdwatch! Oh no. I have done it every year for eight years and I just lost it this time. I am impressed with your list of sightings and they sound very like the birds we have here in our couple of acres of wild garden surrounded by working farmland and close to open moor and lots of trees!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could still do it and send it in with a different date- they are always after data. Your set up sounds wonderful :o)

      Delete
  11. I would be beyond excited if i could interact with wild birds like you. I think they must pick up on your understanding of them and know you will help them.

    Jean
    x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a real treat to be allowed to get so close to them. The Swallow I raised when I was nine spent the summer riding about on my shoulder. I was sad and happy at the same time when he flew off with all the others. x

      Delete
  12. What a lovely story about your Blackbird - one winter night I rescued a Crow which was lying in the road, only just moving. I thought perhaps it may have been hit. I put it inside my coat and took it home and into a large cardboard box with water and food after examining it (no obvious damage). Next morning it seemed very perky and eager to be released from the confines of its box. I reached down to pick it up and like lightening it lunged forward and nearly took my finger off (their beaks are very sharp and strong and there was a lot of blood!) So, no pretty morning song for me and my troubles!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Lord! At least you have stored up a dollop of good Karma, even if the Crow was less than effusive! :o)

      Delete
  13. What a fantastic list. Ours was not so long, but included goldfinches - we have a faithful group of about 6 which visit regularly. No siskins, blackcaps or GSWs unfortunately, but we do have 15 starlings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't see any Goldfinches this year, despite there being a flock of thirty half a mile down the lane :o) Your starling population sounds very healthy! x

      Delete
  14. A great list of birds for the birdwatch and some lovely photos. Very sad we don't get collared doves much here these days. A lovely story about the blackbird :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've had our collared dove pair for at least a couple of years. They are so devoted to one another and I never see them apart. Have got some lovely shots of them sitting squashed together in the apple tree nibbling each other's necks :o)

      Delete
  15. Such brilliant photos! Thank you! I have a male black cap that visits my garden but didn't know what it was. We have also had some beautiful goldfinches, bull finches, and on a few occasions jays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Black Caps sing the most beautiful song- check out the RSPB website for a recording. Bull finches are fantastic birds, I see them on the lane but rarely in our garden x

      Delete
  16. What a lovely story about the Blackbird and great photos. I love the little Blue Tit on your shoulder. My OH has had a Robin sit on his shoulder and a baby Peregrine Falcon come as close as a few feet away, but i've not been so lucky.How fantastic to see a Kingfisher so close too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! A Peregrine! I bet he was over the moon with that :o) The Kingfisher is beautiful- the most amazing blue colour and quite a lot smaller than I'd expected.

      Delete
    2. Hi CT, just letting you know that my OH has found the photos he took of the Falcon and a video (although not very good quality, it was with his old camera) so i'll post them on my blog if you'd like to see them.

      Delete
  17. You got a good selection didn't you!! xx

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x