Saturday, 26 January 2013


A great day and a great location for this years BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH!  It's not often that birding has a beneficial use but today was an exception.  Today's aim was to help play a small part in establishing the UK's population of some of our most favourite birds, our garden birds!  Myself and another member from the Eco Soc group arranged an event whereby we invited three groups of students in a hide situated on campus.  Each small group spent an hour in the hide with us before allowing the next to take over.  This enabled the maximum number of people to have the opportunity to marvel at the antics, behaviour and colour of the garden birds that we saw and recorded.

 stonking male Brambling!

female Brambling

1st Session

1 Brambling (male)
1 Green Woodpecker (heard "yaffling" only)
1 Jay (heard only)
1 Bullfinch (male)
1 Nuthatch
2 Blackbird
2 Blue Tit
7 Chaffinch
2 Coal Tit
1 Dunnock
4 Goldfinch
2 Great Tit
1 Greenfinch
2 Robin
1 Song Thrush
1 Woodpigeon

2nd Session

2 Brambling (1 male, 1 female)
1 Bullfinch
1 Nuthatch
1 Goldcrest
1 Siskin
4 Blackbird
2 Blue Tit
8 Chaffinch
1 Coal Tit
1 Dunnock
1 Feral Pigeon
4 Goldfinch
2 Great Tit
4 Greenfinch
3 Robin

3rd Session

2 Brambling (1 male, 1 female)
1 Great Spotted Woodpecker
1 Buzzard (unfortunately missed this one whilst it was sat in the tree in the garden as I was going to pick up the next group)
2 Bullfinch (1 male, 1 female)
3 Blackbird
4 Blue Tit
14 Chaffinch
1 Coal Tit
1 Dunnock
5 Goldfinch
3 Great Tit
2 Greenfinch
2 Long-tailed Tit
1 Magpie
2 Robin

In all, a rather successful day with a surprisingly large number of Chaffinches.  The highlights were definitely the pair of Brambling and occasional visits from a Nuthatch.

Later in the afternoon whilst in town, after trying to get a viewing of our potential new house, I went on to Swanvale and Swanpool.  Swanvale was rather quite with my first and only Chiffchaff of the day.  The only other species of note included Grey Wagtail, Goldcrests and Jays.  Swanpool was a little more exciting and people feeding the gulls and ducks did well to lure in a adult winter plumage Mediterranean Gull which approached on foot even closer to people than the accompanying Black-headed Gulls, affording excellent views!  Also had my first Great Crested Grebe of the year and the usual Coot with the malformed and exaggerated white frontal plate behaved rather tamely too.  From Swanpool Beach another close shower was a Guillemot diving in the surf.  2 Gannets also flew past Swanpool Point and a wader species was seen battling the strong winds some distance out to sea but the fact I only had my bins with me at the time didn't allow for a proper scan.

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