He had to come, didn’t he!

In the UK this weekend the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds was holding it’s Big Garden Bird Watch when we were asked to keep a count of the number of birds seen at any one time during an hour. This is to give them an idea of how different varieties of birds are surviving in different parts of the countryside, which are increasing and which decreasing and in danger of needing to be put on the “red list”. As soon as I got up this morning I filled all the bird feeders as usual, then sat back and waited. Who was first on the scene- you might have known!


Such a squawking noise coming from the back garden where he was sitting on the conservatory roof so I had to go back upstairs to photograph him through the window. My count is as follows –

Pheasant  1, Blackbird 3, Wren 1, Blue Tit 3, Nuthatch 2, Great Tit 2, Dunnock 2, Robin 1, Gt.Spotted Woodpecker 2, Chaffinch 3, Goldfinch 5, Wood Pigeon 3, Long Tailed Tits 5, Coal Tit 1.                  But no Sparrows or Greenfinch this time.

We didn’t count how many birds we saw in an hour as it might have been the same ones coming back again and again, just how many we saw together, so we are quite pleased with this years numbers.  If you are in the UK, did you manage to take part in the RSPB survey?

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26 Responses to He had to come, didn’t he!

  1. Angie says:

    I’ll be doing my bit tomorrow – yours is the second blog I’ve read that had no sparrows visiting. I’ve already offered to trade Jessica (Rusty Duck) some sparrows for nuthatches – I’d gladly take some long tailed tits of your hands ;). I’ll have too many sparrows to count tomorrow – it’ll just be how fast I can count before they fly off!

    • Pauline says:

      We don’t often see sparrows here these days Angie, when we moved here 20 odd yrs ago, there were plenty. Where we are we have both woodland and open fields next to us, so are lucky in the variety we have. We did our count today as the weather seems to be going down hill again tomorrow, hope you have plenty of birds to count!

  2. Caro says:

    We have lots of house sparrows because the old air bricks built into the walls of the flats have been blocked up from the inside, leaving the outside clear for the birds – and the sparrows make their nests in there! Before the trees in the garden beneath my window were chopped back (and down), I could have guaranteed to see robins, sparrows, tits and a wood pigeon – all from my window. Not sure what I’ll see now, although I still hear the robin so he’s around somewhere!

    • Pauline says:

      Caro, it’s good to hear that there are lots of sparrows still, even if they’re not down here. The robin song is so distinctive isn’t it, you can’t miss it! Ours is waiting in the dark for his breakfast of mealworms along with the blackbirds, they have me well trained.

  3. Wendy says:

    Fascinating to see your bird count, Pauline. We don’t get any sparrows here either, I really miss them and, like you, remember them being everywhere just a few years ago. Your pheasant definitely wanted to be counted into this one! Do you still have your white pheasant visiting?

    • Pauline says:

      Wendy, I’m sorry to say, the white female pheasant is no more. In my round up of the year at the end of December,I think I posted that one of my neighbours found a pile of white feathers in her bit of woodland last year, we assume it was the local fox, such a shame.

  4. Cathy says:

    When I saw your post title my heart sank as I thought it was your white pheasant, although I am sure this more ordinary relation could do just as much damage when he is not distracted by bird seed! I am glad you managed to get your hour in – as you have read mine was abandoned. Apart from the nut hatches and pheasant, on a ‘normal’ day we could match your count, with quite a few sparrow thrown in and possibly greenfinches too – but last year they all kept away!

    • Pauline says:

      The white female pheasant was caught by our local fox last year Cathy, or we assume it was the fox. One of my neighbours found a pile of white feathers in her woodland one day last summer, we were all rather sad that she came to such an end. I’m so glad you have some sparrows and greenfinches, if we see either here we get quite excited! A few years ago, we had to abandon our count when a sparrow hawk flew round the house and caught a great tit, all the birds vanished for ages.

  5. rusty duck says:

    Your pheasant is more media savvy than ours. I offered him the chance of global exposure but he (and his friend) retreated to the back of the rhodos and stayed there. Good count. No wren in ours, although they are around, or LTTs.

    • Pauline says:

      Jessica, we have been hearing him on the field for a few days now and wondered if he would come to be counted! We sometimes see him on the road up the hill with about a dozen ladies friends, I’m rather glad he didn’t bring them all with him! Maybe yours is just shy!

  6. Our sparrows are always chittering and arguing in the hedge acoss the road from us, so I don’t think I can count them – literally or for the survey! I shoudl have counted yesterday when it was – briefly – dry. Ah well, there might be a brief lull in the rain today…

    • Pauline says:

      Janet, I think I would be tempted to include your sparrows, just so the RSPB know that there are still some out there! Today is so wet, I’m glad we did our survey yesterday.

  7. Anna says:

    Glad to hear that the usual suspect was first on the scene Pauline. I counted yesterday morning – fewer birds than previous years 🙁

    • Pauline says:

      We heard him before we saw him Anna, then couldn’t believe that he chose to sit on the conservatory roof! We were disappointed not to have any sparrows or greenfinches, I think their numbers are dropping down here, we don’t see them very often now unfortunately.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    A good number of different birds Pauline. Good for you for participating. I missed a bird count here over Christmas but think there will be another next month. The pheasant is a beauty.

    • Pauline says:

      It’s good Susie, that we keep a count of our birds, that way we know if there are any problems with our wildlife. Hope you see plenty when you have your bird count. The pheasant certainly is a handsome bird and I think he knows it, the way he struts around in front of his ladies!

  9. Christina says:

    When we lived in England sparrows followed by starlings were the most common birds in the garden it is so interesting how things have changed.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Christina, once we had lots of sparrows and starlings, now we get excited when they occasionally appear! Some think its mainly due to the changes in farming practices,they have more efficient ways of collecting grain but I don’t know, I never would have thought that sparrows would almost be on the endangered list.

  10. catmint says:

    impressive no. and variety of birds – so sad the way they’re decreasing. That pheasant is very handsome.

    • Pauline says:

      It is sad Catmint, that all the sparrows and starlings that I used to see as a child, are no longer about. The pheasant is very handsome, and I think he knows it!

  11. debsgarden says:

    The variety of birds that enjoy your garden shows what a diverse and healthy environment you have created!

    • Pauline says:

      The birds and animals seem to love all the shrubs and trees we have planted that give them shelter and food. Each year the variety of wildlife increases, which we feel is what gardening today is all about.

  12. wellywoman says:

    We didn’t get a chance to do it because it was wet all weekend. 🙁 There has been a distinct lack of birds in our garden this winter though. Maybe the mild weather and plenty of food in the hedgerows means they haven’t needed to come into gardens. Wow I’m impressed that you had a nuthatch in your garden.

    • Pauline says:

      What a pity WW, that you were rained off. We still seem to have the same numbers of birds as usual, I only provide their breakfast, then they have to search for any more in the garden and rid it of nasties! We always have a couple of nuthatches first thing in the morning, I presume they like our little woodland. While getting the breakfast ready today, who were on the feeders – sparrows and greenfinch -where were they on Saturday?

  13. Loved the photo of the pheasant. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

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