Sunday, 26 January 2014

A day of citizen science projects

The Safari was peering through the blinds and a rain soaked window watching the rain lash down across the garden waiting to count the birds that came to the feeders hanging in the trees at the far end.
The appointed hour for our RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch came and thankfully so did the birds. Once our hour was up we'd recorded:-
Long Tailed Tits - 5
Great Tit - 2
Blackbird - 1 female which sat under a bush for over half an hour without moving sheltering from the torrential rain
Blue Tit - 2
Chaffinch - 3 2 females, 1 male
Woodpigeon - 1
Robin - 1
Greenfinch - 2 A pair the female being dominant over the male.

Of the foods provided only the sunflower hearts were favoured. The suet block was attended briefly by one of the Long Tailed Tits. Only the male Greenfinch fed from the suet and sunny seed 'Robin mix' and then only once he'd been chucked of the sunny hearts by the female. The Niger seeds weren't touched and indeed haven't been touched by anything at all ever, even the Goldfinches which have since disappeared never went near them.
A few slices of bread were thrown on the garage roof for the gulls and although there were some flying around none showed any interest in it during the hour - duhhhhh??????
A male Blackbird and one of the local Collared Doves put showed up not long after the end of the hour...we're sure some of them watch us watching the clock!
Later a female Great Tit turned up which was ringed - not seen her before.
Sadly our second bash at the survey, with the public this time, was rained off and excessively so it was heaving down and only ourselves and the other organisers from the North Blackpool Pond Trail turned up...think the rain might have put the other punters off - you don't say!
After lunch the rain relented and the sun tried to come out so we went off round Patch 1 for the first time in ages, now Frank can't walk that far we've more or less had a to abandon it. The target here was to add a few more records to Birdtrack and hopefully get another species or three for our Foot It tally.
A singing Song Thrush was a pleasant surprise while all the regulars were added in due course. Half way round we found a tree with a splurge of fungi erupting from it.
In the wooded area a flock of small birds were spotted nipping over a fence and into a garden, coming back with peanuts. Here we stood our best chance of picking up a new species for our Foot It list...and we did...but not the one we expected. Watching a Great Tit hammering away at a peanut we heard a Goldcrest (FI #45 90%) break into song, OK this was on our 'hit-list' for the walk but where we were stood we expected to find a Coal Tit...which didn't show, nor did the hoped for Great Spotted Woodpecker either of which would have taken us over the 90% mark.
The gulls started making a ruckus and alerted us to the Peregrine coming in to roost.
Birdtrack doesn't seem to like big numbers of common birds, yesterday we had an alert that our House Sparrow count was high and today it was the 34+ Magpies in their pre-roost congregation that got the red line treatment.
Then it went dark...and that was that for the day, quite a productive one despite having to  abandon the guided walk.
Where to next? Breezy for Patch 2 in the morning.
In the meantime let us know if the rain eventually stopped in your outback.


Stuart Price said...

A similar looking fungi to that one is a popular food in Japan.......

By the way I tried FIVE times to type this comment, I absolutely despise blogger's word verification.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks for perservering Stu
My mate reckons it's Beafsteak fungus and is eaten in Europe too.

PS I'm with you on those verification thingies - just had to do one for this and it's my blog on my log-in!