Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Post-Festive Greetings!

First of all we both hope you have had a lovely Christmas and New Year, and you have managed to shake the cobwebs off by now!
We have been a little quiet with the blog the past few weeks, but I am sure you can all understand the shopping trips, family visits, numerous turkey sandwiches and hazy headed mornings take up a fair bit of time.

This blog is going to be more about the birds we see in our urban areas, so in our gardens and streets. And we have a couple of website links that you could join in with to help out in certain areas of bird monitoring.

So to start off, our garden feeders have been very busy over the festive period, full of birds we have mentioned before, and a few new ones for you have a gander at (sorry for the pun, I can promise you we haven't had any geese in our gardens, well, not that we have seen).
Every morning when we open the kitchen door, we are met by a wall of sound that an awful lot of you will recognise, the sound of the House Sparrow. There's plenty of them around, and we even have a particular feeder out just for sparrows, so the Wood Pigeons and Collared Doves don't devour everything, or knock it onto the floor like they are quite skilled at!People may have got Wood Pigeons mixed up with Collared Doves in the past, or vice versa, but the Collared Dove is smaller, and has quite a distinctive black mark around the back of its neck. So the next time you think you see a run of the mill Wood Pigeon, have a better look, as you could be looking at something different!
Other notable visitors to our garden include the Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Great tit, Blue Tit and the Starling.
As a side note before I go on, this is the best time of year to watch large flocks or 'murmurations' of starlings before they roost for the night. They can number upto a million, and are an extravaganza in itself to watch.
The BBC nature website has a good write up about this, and also a video to go along with it, heres the link- .

This Autumn and Winter has had a very large influx of a very attractive looking bird, with a hairstyle most American soldiers still sport now I think, that bird would be he Waxwing. The appearance of the birds feathers help you realise why they get their name. You may have seen these in your garden, stripping berries from trees, then moving onto the next tree, then the next, then the next, like a avian version of a locust colony you could say! see picture below:

Another lovely surprise was the appearance of two little Sparrow sized birds, called Reed Bunting's. I have never seen them in my garden before, but many reports have been made that they have started to venture into peoples gardens a lot more, and I was very lucky to have two of the little blighters! They are similar to a sparrow, as you will be able to tell if you click on the link provided on the species list at the side.

Anyhows, now is time for you to get involved, if you see fit too!

For over a 30 years the RSPB have been doing a big garden birdwatch, where you guys spend an hour of your day on either the last Saturday or the last Sunday of this month, identifying and counting all the feathered friends you see in your own garden. It is a very good initiative all around, as it's fun for you to do, and its also very helpful for the RSPB, knowing what sort of birds, how many they are in certain gardens, in certain areas of the UK! SO here is the link, hope you have fun doing it!

For any of you wanting to help out on a more long term basis, the BTO do certain surveys and bird counting programmes you can do all year round, if you have a look at their website at .

That is all for the time being folks other than advising you to check out the link on the right hand side for the British garden birds website so you can help identify some of the other birds you may see!

 so we hope all of you have had as good a start to 2011 as we have.

Sam and Jam x

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