RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Survey

My RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch survey completed today. Birds in garden 3 great tits, 1 robin, 10 sparrows, 1 chaffinch (female), 1 magpie, 1 blackbird (male).  Others seen beyond garden : 2 seagulls, 4 wood pigeons, 2 kites, 3 jackdaws, 3 starlings.  Quite busy!

 

Paying attention to the birds in your garden

Disappointed I didn’t take part in the RSPB’s Garden Birdwatch today leaving it too late in the day.  Fingers crossed, I can take part today.   The garden birdwatch is a chance to spend an hour paying attention to the birds in your garden.  It’s relaxing, challenging, and you’ll be surprised what birds visit your garden.  

On a walk with the dogs, I noticed two magpies, a robin singing boldly in the branches a foot or so in front of me (see video) …

.. a crew of garrulous sparrows … 

It was a windy day with ice cold winds.   I noticed the creaky sounds one tree made in the wind… Listen to the first few seconds of the following video.  I couldn’t get any more ‘creaks’ from the tree, perhaps it sense I was recording it.

Variable weather for the day including bright sunshines and the dullest of dismal grey skies.   We had sleet, fine snow, hail and rain.  The weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to be today… it had an identity crisis.

Later in the afternoon I heard a loud noise from above, I looked outside thinking it was a large skein of Canada geese, but it was a squabble of seagulls.  Noisy buggers

A useful page here on collective nouns for birds.

Spring Song and Sunshine

A gloriously sunny day today.  It felt uplifting to be out and about for a walk in this sunshine.  On an early afternoon walk with the dogs, I noticed the Spring song of the robin.  According to the RSPB :

Only for a short period in late summer while they are moulting and inconspicuous do robins stop singing. Both sexes sing. 

As with the nightingale, the song is usually delivered from a concealed perch within a bush or a tree exposed perches are infrequent. Autumn and spring songs are distinctly different. The autumn song starts after the moult, from late summer onwards. It is more subdued and melancholy in its tone, while the spring song is powerful, confident and upbeat. 

The spring song can start as early as mid-December, reaching full force in spring. Its purpose is two-fold: to defend a territory and to attract a mate. Therefore, spring song is far more powerful in males.

Dark in the Park

In the morning I noticed a bold-as-brass robin that didn’t flinch until I walked within a few feet of him.  He was still as a stone hoping I would pass him unnoticed.  As he turned to the side, I saw his flash of orange.

Later that morning I saw two flocks of Canada geese in ‘V’ formation fly past, around sixty geese in total.  I suppose that the geese gain aerodynamic efficiency by flying in a close ‘V’ formation and that each formation gains further efficiencies by flying with an ‘ally’ flock.

In the evening, I joined friends at the Dark in the Park running event held at Ynysangharad Park, Pontypridd.  It was part of Rhondda Cynon Taff Council’s ‘Couch to 5k’ initiative… good to see the local public parks being used for such healthy activities.  Around 150 people joined in the event, running as groups from 6pm, three laps of the Park, around 4k in distance.

At the Park I noticed the light quality, the contrast between artificial and the little natural moon light.  Many runners wore LED lights on head-straps.  From the distance, as they jogged around the park as a group, they looked like miners with headlamps on their way to the mine.

The temperature was cold, near freezing with an Ice Warning from the Met Office for much of Wales from 10pm that evening.  I could see my breath steaming in front me as I exhaled on the run.

The River Taff gurgled by our side for part of the way through the Park.