As always, Big Garden Birdwatch is an important weekend for me. In fact every day is Big Garden Birdwatch in my world, but this weekend is when the UK come together for this massive citizen science project organised by the RSPB.
Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world.
In 2020, nearly half a million people took part, counting almost eight million birds over a three-day period.
For many people, garden birds provide an important connection to nature and bring joy and comfort as well as being vital for our mental health and wellbeing.
Close to half-a-million people join in the Birdwatch every year and it looks like even more will take part in this lockdown year, as many have spent lockdowns coming to appreciate the wildlife in their own gardens and green spaces.
Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s Chief Executive, said: “We know that for many people, garden birds provide an important connection to the wider world and bring enormous joy. Lockdown brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people. There has been a broad and much-needed realisation that nature is an important and necessary part of our lives especially for our mental health and wellbeing. But nature needs us too.
“By taking part in the Birdwatch, you are helping to build an annual snapshot of how our birdlife is doing across the UK. It is only by us understanding how our wildlife is faring that we can protect it. We know that nature is in crisis but together, we can take action to solve the problems facing nature.”
This year was extra special for me, as the RSPB asked me to take part in a big new project they had planned, to offer live streamed cameras all over the weekend. I was delighted to offer them some of mine to use, to supplement the ones they had set up in reserves across the country.
The set-up at Tim Stenton's at Hillockhead featured, as well as my cams at home.
The Hillockhead feeders were amazing this weekend, with 15 species recorded on the platform, including a brief visit by the sparrowhawk!
It is always difficult to choose when to do my count. I like it to represent the average day here in my garden and,. of course, I have eyes on all a parts of the garden!
I was delighted to have a pair of sparrows make an appearance. I love house sparrows, but rarely see them here....
My final tally......
Sadly, I have only seen a bullfinch a couple of times this year, when last year they were regular visitor. Blue tits and great tits are up this year, but only a single nuthatch.
Once again, I really enjoyed this year's weekend and I can't wait to hear how many took part... I know the website crashed at one point! I am hoping that was due to a huge increase of people coming to appreciate how wonderful it is to get up close and personal with their garden birds.... and that they keep watching, right up until next year's Big Garden Birdwatch!