Saturday, 30 January 2010

Small garden birdwatch

The safari spent a frustrating hour participating in what our American cousin's call 'citizen science'. Gotta be done though - tens of thousands of people recording at the same time yields exceptional coverage and lots of work for the statisticians.
Base camp's garden 'includes' somewhat cheekily the Pear tree over the fence on the left, the evergreen bush and small tree on the right of the garage as well as the tree whose outer twigs you can see by the water tower. Still a small garden but with a bit more habbo and as long as the same patch is counted year after year matters little. I don't think anyone else nearby participates. The people who used to live in the big white house had feeders but the new occupants have disposed of them..not cut their trees down ...yet. Behind our back fence is an access road so we don't back on to other gardens which makes the access/egress to the garden less attractive to wildlife. Further to the right almost all the gardens have lost their trees they had only five years ago. Not only that the massive car park surounding the office complex further still to the right have removed almost all their big trees which where the biggest in the area, their small bushes have gone too, habitat destruction on a (locally) collosal scale - reason??? Your guess is as good as mine - sticky goo falling on the cars in the summer probably or some other nonsense.

So what did we get. The wind was in the wrong direction for the gulls, as they came in to land on the garage roof for the bread they could see me lurking in the bedroom window...and it put the there's a thing! A Black Headed Gull had a brave attempt but didn't qouite touch down so wasn't counted. A full adult Herring Gull was more persistant and got a beak full of the doughy stuff.
A pair of Mistle Thrushes perching in the big Sycamore (top right) was a god tick. Greenfinches and Goldfinches are regular visitors but today only passed overhead at height...swines. A Starling laso landed in the Sycamore, then surprisingly a second one whizzed past the window and had a quick look in our Swift box...might need to put a sign up Swifts only! Starlings Keep Out..but that would be a bit unfair as Starlings are having a bit of a bad time of it as a breeding species at the mo.
Owt else? Oh yes two each of Blue Tit, Great Tit and Chaffinch. Plenty of Magpies, Collared Doves and Blackbirds buzzing around the gardens in the top of the pic but they couldn't be tempted on to our estate.
Where to next? A safari to the wilds of the east tomorrow - will we get that 100th species for January? There are only a couple of target species which may or may not be nailed.
In the meantime let us know what's been counted by citzen scientists in your outback.


Warren Baker said...

A bit of a sparse count there dave. Not surprising though with all the habitat gone!

Well done for your efforts.

Monika said...

So you can only count birds that actually touch down in your garden? Too bad flyovers don't count!

Our Backyard Bird Count is coming up in February. More trees here, but I may not come up with more species, we'll see!