Lockdown garden bird list – the first seven weeks

My lockdown garden bird list has leapt from 46 to 53 species in the last three weeks. The ‘new’ species were Cuckoo, Hobby and Sand Martin (summer migrants) and Mallard, Little Egret, Herring Gull and Skylark. Little Egret was a garden lifer too – but now I’ve seen it three times.

Here’s the list (with the number of times each species appeared in my 41 day lists over the period):

Woodpigeon 41

Collared Dove 41

Black-headed Gull 41

Jackdaw 41

House Sparrow 41

Goldfinch 41

Greenfinch 41

Rook 41

Blue Tit 41

Blackbird 40

Starling 40

Dunnock 40

Carrion Crow 39

Red Kite 38

Great Tit 38

Robin 38

Sparrowhawk 33

Buzzard 32

Wren 32

Lesser Black-backed Gull 28

Chaffinch 27

Stock Dove 22

Pheasant 18

Pied Wagtail 18

Swallow 17

Blackcap 14

Song Thrush 14

Long-tailed Tit 13

Kestrel 13

Magpie 13

Swift 10

Goldcrest 8

House Martin 7

Peregrine 7

Raven 6

Cormorant 5

Common Gull 4

Mediterranean Gull 4

Little Egret 3

Grey Heron 2

Greylag Goose 2

Canada Goose 2

Herring Gull 2

Hobby 2

Mallard 2

Reed Bunting 1

Gadwall 1

Fieldfare 1

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1

Green Woodpecker 1

Skylark 1

Cuckoo 1

But, away from the list aspect, I am learning a lot about the birds in and over my garden. There are the Woodpigeons that commute from the town to the countryside, and back, at set times of day. There is the quietening down of Robins and Long-tailed Tits now they are incubating. Maybe they have chicks now – but not in my garden. Early morning is the best time to hear a crowing Pheasant from the fields several hundred metres away (after the dawn chorus but before most people are awake). Raptor hour (some time between 1030 and 1330) is very likely to produce Red Kite, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk – and maybe Kestrel and Raven. Every day I hear the silence drop, started by a Blue Tit alarm, and then see a Sparrowhawk circling high or flashing past. Swallows and both martins are almost always heading north – these are still sightings of arriving birds. The Blackcap a few gardens away only sings very rarely. Song Thrushes are quite quiet, and if I do hear one it is usually far away (but I bet they’ll start up again soon). The Carrion Crows a few gardens away probably have chicks now because they are far more intolerant when a Red kite glides over – up in the air cawwwing loudly.

These are not observations of great importance but whereas in previous years, many years, I dipped in and out of the wildlife in my garden I am now more fully embedded in it. I notice the changes from day to day. I like it.

It’s a bit like the differences between the photo of my garden at the top of this post (taken today) and the one below from mid April. They look much the same. They are much the same. But I know that the Lilac has come and gone in that time, and although the grass looks much the same it has been cut, partly, twice (though you’ll notice I spare the patches of daisies), and the Forsythia had been pruned back and there are those pots against the shed with herbs and vegetables (and slugs) in them. The pictures look the same but I know this place and I can spot the differences, and I know the frames in between these two.

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1 Reply to “Lockdown garden bird list – the first seven weeks”

  1. I like seeing the pics of your garden as well as seeing the listed birds. It's a shaggy garden, shared with nature rather than a manicured tamed garend, which is what we aim for. Our unmowed wild patch is coming on nicely, we have a lot of interesting overflying birds, with the Canada geese en route to one of the nearby meres skimming the rooftop so closely the other day, we both ducked and watched them as they honked on to the next splashdown. Our "resident" wood pigeons bill, coo, flirt & mate on the roof, blackbird sings regularly from his perch on next door's TV aerial and the blue tits are busy in & out of one of the nesting boxed. Lockdown is far from being boring.

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