This year as per last (checkout last years post here) I asked my faithful 6 year old assistant to accompany me on the big garden bird watch accompanied by half a million other citizen scientists. She was more than happy to oblige although the overcast weather and proliferation of little brown jobs didn’t assist with the easy ID. Fortunately the easy to use online score card and a little help sorted out trickier garden visitors such as the thoughtful looking female chaffinch below.
In line with last years survey we were treated to the early antics of three dunnocks who chased each other around displaying with frantic wing beating suggesting they think that spring isn’t that faraway.
Mr Dunnock time for your close up
Whilst the dunnocks (hedge sparrow) turned up in good number their sparrow namesakes the house sparrows were much less numerous with just one female eventually showing up all dressed in brown trying to confuse my counting companion.
Female House Sparrow. Brown but not without her own personal beauty.
Having checked on the live updates of scores available on the RSPB site (when you submit your own) the house sparrow is firm favourite to retain the number one spot. Our sparrow was joined by a host of the usual suspects including wood pigeons, collared doves, great tits, blue tits, blackbirds and a robin. Missing from last years count but making a usual showing this year were greenfinches and a coal tit. Having counted down the hour and worked our way through the brown birds things got significantly more colourful afterwards with the first sightings locally of the year of a couple of stunning male bullfinches doing some serious damage to the early budding trees.