Today (5th January) marks the start of the weekly Garden Birdwatch for 2020 and marks the start of my 17th year of participating in this project.
The years have passed by quickly. I have at times thought of giving up doing the weekly counts of the garden birds and other wildlife that is present as it is quite repetitive, then a bird I have not seen in my garden for a while pays a visit and it then ignites my interest to carry on!
Today for example a male Blackcap put in a short appearance in one of the apple trees, a bird that has not been a regular visitor since winter 2015. Apples spiked on the trees were regularly enjoyed by normally a single male Blackcap. They were a delight to watch!
Having records dating back to 2003 is useful in that I can check the reporting rate, dates and numbers of species I have recorded, sadly some species have seen a remarkable decline in just my garden! House Sparrows and Starlings are two species that I now rarely see in my garden.
Starlings are at times seen to fly over my garden in small numbers though at one time the feeders in my garden where a thriving stopover with birds counted in good numbers! Not anymore sadly. On checking my records the decline is noticeable from Autumn 2011, few have been recorded since.
House Sparrows are more of a rarity in my garden though they are seen to be thriving in small flocks locally to me, thankfully! My records show a startling decline from summer 2007.
Today I have recorded in my garden in order of appearance: Blackbird x2, Carrion Crow x2, Magpie x2, Blue Tit x1, Woodpigeon x6, Coal Tit x1, Great Tit x2, Blackcap (m) x1, Wren x 1, Robin x1, Jackdaw x2, Redwing x1.
As the week progresses I will add any new species and also increase the count of a species already recorded if a few more arrive. I am hoping that a few of the small flock of Redwings that are sighted frequently these last few days atop of a neighbours tall tree will spot the spiked apples and visit!
A photo attached of the Redwing in my garden taken through a window, not a clear image but that does not matter as the sighting of the Redwing was more important and enjoyable than a good photo!