28 January 2009

Counting birds

We did our bird count over the weekend - did you?

It was a real finch-fest! When we got to 26 chaffinches we stopped counting and trying to keep track, they just won't sit still long enough! And greenfinches are very good at merging into the vegetation so we gave up on them at 21. We also counted 5 goldfinches and 6 siskins. Nearly all the tit family put in an apperance with 3 blue tits, 2 each of great tits and coal tits and a family of 9 long tails. Only one of our nuthatches visited during the count but two robins (we sometimes have three if they don't notice each other). Our noisy sparrows obviously found somewhere else for breakfast on Sunday as only four house sparrows came to feed, the tree sparrows are shy and stayed away but three hedge spuggies (or dunnocks) hopped about in between three blackbirds (one male and two female). Two collared doves come for a drink and to drive off the three wood pigeons. There were also some starlings about, we could hear them but not see them, and a small squadron of gulls (herring and black heads) flew over.

This is a wonderful way to survey, sitting in a warm kitchen with a pot of tea, slabs of cake and listening to Desert Island Discs on the radio. If only all surveying could be this easy! Rather than out at crack of sparrow in the cold, dark and drizzle to search the last known locations of plants last recorded over a decade ago - ah well sometimes computer bashing has its advantages.

Results are due at the end of March / early April.