Rain was not too much of a problem during birdwatch


I can hardly believe that January has almost gone and we’ve had no snow and barely a frost so far.The bulbs in the garden are all well through, the snowdrops and aconites are in bloom and the birds all think it’s spring.

Great spotted woodpeckers have been drumming like mad and several species like dunnock and great tit are in full song.

The oystercatchers are present on the river and the blue tits in my garden have been inspecting my nestbox with a view to applying for residency later on.

Why do I think all this spring fever is going to end in tears?

On the subject of nestboxes, I have just purchased one of those high tech jobs with a camera inside from Mr Aldi, so that come nesting time I can enjoy my own version of Springwatch on my TV.

I have put the box up on the wall by my front door, partly shaded by a thorny pyracantha, which should offer added protection from predators.

I tried it out in the house first to make sure it was working before putting it outside.

I won’t connect the cable until (hopefully) it becomes occupied, so that the birds will become used to it before I need to have the inconvenience of a long cable trailing through the house.

The weather last weekend was predictably atrocious for the annual Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the RSPB.

I know lots of you will have taken part as it’s growing in popularity every year.

The idea is that you pick an hour sometime over the weekend and record the highest number of each species of bird you see in your garden during that time.

I decided to do mine between 9 and 10 on Sunday morning, as that seemed to be quite a busy time normally, as the birds feed up at first light to prepare them for the coming day’s exertions.

I hadn’t factored in the persistent deluge of rain and sleet which was constant throughout the chosen hour.

However, it was enjoyable watching all the comings and goings as they battled the elements.

There were no rarities, but that isn’t the purpose of the survey.

I logged 39 birds in total, covering 12 species, which is quite representative of the norm in my garden and will no doubt help the RSPB to draw up a picture from the thousands of similar results nationwide, of the state of the population of our common garden birds.

E-mail me at corbie@homecall.co.uk if you have any interesting wildlife observations to report or have any unusual pictures you would like to share with readers.