21896 Square Miles
Date: 2014-01-08 16:44:48 | Category: Bird Watching
| Author: Neill Hunt
Several months ago I was Bird watching in the glorious sunshine of Southern Thailand, looking for, and finding, the incredibly rare Spoon Billed Sandpiper.
I followed this in August with a quick trip to Irelands west coast for a spot of sea-watching looking out into the Atlantic Ocean, hoping to catch a glimpse of an out of place seabird.
After this followed a few days rarity hunting on the Isles of Scilly....Birding is an incredible hobby, it can take you to all corners of the globe, visiting incredible places, see amazing things and meeting fantastic people. Of course, when not travelling you can go to your local patch or stay in your own back garden! Not many pass times have so much to offer.
So, staying closer to home, I recently tallied up my own Garden Bird List; the birds that I have seen in, and from, my garden. Now then... I live in the middle of a town in a semi-detached house with a garden which is 10 metres long by 5 metres wide. I have a very small pond and a feeding station which incorporates a bird-table, a fat feast feeder, 2 fat ball feeders, 2 seed feeders, a Niger Seed feeder, a peanut feeder, a suet pellet feeder and a half coconut!
My feeding station is next to a small Apple Tree and I drape my various feeders from this and the bird-table. On the ground under the table I have a log which I put seed on for the shy ground loving species such as Dunnocks and I leave the fallen fruit for Thrushes and Blackbirds. Considering mine is a small suburban garden the results have been good, as well as the commoner, regular species I have also had close encounters with Black Redstart, Waxwing, Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest and Jay, whilst patrolling the skies above I've managed to see Peregrine Falcon, Buzzard, Little Egret and Raven. Fantastic!
The thing with gardens is they cover 18% of the British Isles, which is a staggering 21896 square miles, more than twice the size of Wales! That's an awful of habitat, a lot of ponds, bird-houses, bird-tables and feeders, great news for the birds.
Anyway I counted up the species tally for my Garden and I was pleasantly surprised... Grand Total 62, this may not seem a lot, but , it is 10.3% of the all birds currently on the British list 597.
Let us know how you've done in your gardens, do you have a garden list? What's the total, what species are your favourite?
We could start a 'Twootz 2014 Garden Challenge' let me know your thoughts and I'll organise a table if enough people are interested. We could keep a combined garden list for the whole country and see what percentage of birds we encounter collectively in our gardens.
E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. Send your garden list in, I'll compile 'The Big Garden List'.
Happy Birding Everyone and a Happy New Year.