Nature Blog Network

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

Numbers were slightly better this year, with 29 birds and 12 species. This compares with 16 birds from 9 species last year and 19 species in 2015. (Data for 2017-19 was lost.)

carrion crow 4
jackdaw 4
blackbird 3
great tit 3
house sparrow 2
wood pigeon 2
magpie 2
chaffinch 2
blue tit 2
coal tit 2
bullfinch 2
robin 1

This year there have been changes in the area which might affect the birds observed. Planning permission was granted in Jan 2020 for the construction of a bungalow in the field opposite the recording spot. As part of this a number of trees were felled in Feb/Mar 2020 which reduced the cover given both to small birds flying onto the feeders and to the ground skulking birds like wrens and dunnoqcks. Consequently the feeders were moved nearer to other shrubs in the garden to try and provide more cover.

No starlings for three years now. There used to be over 70.

The squirrel population continues to be healthy and they, together with the covers, are not shy at helping themselves to the food provided. Finally we found a 'squirrel-proof' feeder which seems to have defeated them, but their agility and ingenuity does command grudging respect.


Tawny owl calling survey

So nearly a couple of years ago I took part in the Tawny Owl calling survey for the British Trust for Ornithology. This involved listening for 20 minutes a week at a time of my choosing and recording whether or not I heard an owl calling. That was it, as surveys go it was one of the easier ones.

Most weeks were owl positive which is pleasing.

There was a delay in publishing the results and the promised link in the BTO project owl page didn't materialise so I've just found these here. In general it found that Tawny numbers have held up well in the 13 years since the survey was last undertaken, bot in terms of sessions when an owl was heard and the number of sites recording hearing an owl. Rather stupidly I didn't keep the results for Springhill, just submitted them to the BTO, so can't comment on how old hearings here compared to national results.

Sadly the owls' favourite tree has been felled as part of the proposed development of the Paddock but they have been heard again this week so are still around. There is thankfully a fair bit of broad leaf habitat left for them.

December weather

Not quite a white Christmas but certainly a frosty start to 2021.

Temp Dec 2020 600

Wind Dec 20 600

Pressure Dec 2020 600

Made in RapidWeaver