I blogged earlier this week about the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Today, I sat down for my hour to watch the garden for signs of feathery life.
I've only been feeding the birds regularly since the snow came in January. I put out fatballs and seed and peanut feeders, which are hanging from hooks near the fence and are sheltered by the bamboo hedge. And there is food on the ground for larger birds that cannot use hanging feeders.
I've watched the garden everyday since early January, and spotted a few species, but I've not stopped to actually watch them interact and feed. So today has been very interesting.
Before I started the count I put out fresh food and water, including some inventive seed feeders we made after seeing them on Deb Carrots' blog.
I settled down shortly after 10.30 am. I immediately wished I'd cleaned the patio windows! I wasn't waiting long. My first spot was a Song Thrush. I was very excited to see this bird because it is on the RSPB's Red list. It was hard to spot at times because it blended so well into the flowerbeds. It preferred to get some bread and take it into the undergrowth to eat.
Next along was our robin. He is such a character and it was lovely to watch him hopping among the flowerbeds, perching on the fence panels, and sitting resting under the bamboo.
I had to wait quite a long time for my next spot: a male blackbird. This fellow was very protective of his food and kept chasing the thrush away.
So, that was the total number of birds spotted in my hour. I had spotted three blackbirds earlier in the morning, two male and one female, and the males were very aggressive. I was hoping to see them all again, but unfortunately that wasn't to happen. I'd also hoped to see the wren, who last came by the garden in early January during the snowy weather. I saw a collared dove on a neighbour's pergola in the afternoon, and some unusual white duck-like birds flying overhead in the late afternoon.
My garden isn't devoid of avian life though. In early Spring and Autumn we are frequently visited by Pied Wagtails who must stop by on their migration route. During the Summer, Housemartins nest under our eaves. And we have Mallard ducks on our doorstep, who nest on the nearby River Ivel and wander past our house for a nosey!
This year marks the beginning of my bird feeding initiative! Hopefully next year I shall have many more species to report.