Big Garden Birdwatch
Since 1979 RSPB has organised the Big Garden Birdwatch, using it as a method to see how populations of garden bird species have fluctuated and what are the most common garden species are at any one time. The first survey was expected to attract only a couple of hundred records but due to it being featured on Blue Peter there were in fact 34,000 records sent in. It has grown every year since and so far this year over 112,,000 records have already been sent in and this will no doubt grow greatly over the coming days. Since 1979 the results have shown sparrow numbers have fallen by 50% and starlings by 75%. However, on a positive note, blue tit numbers have gone up by 20% and wood pigeon numbers by a huge 800%.
Because I am in France I cannot record my figures with the RSPB but I still thought it would be interesting to see what birds I could see here at Eco-Gites of Lenault. It seemed Mother Nature had other plans, though, with the weather being pretty foul all weekend. However I did mange to get out between 10 and 10.30am on Sunday morning and recorded the following species:
Around the grounds:
Yellow Hammers, Sparrows, Chaffinches, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Fieldfare/Redwing/Thrush (not sure which, it flew past too quickly), Robin
In the field next door:
Most pleasing were the yellowhammers, 3 of them. I had not seen them here before this winter yet they were a bird I saw a lot when I was a child in The Cotswolds.
Yellowhammer image with permission from Wikipedia
I was sad not to see any blue or great tits who are usually resident here but were obviously off elsewhere today ... I did see a whole family of blue tits when walking Saari later in the afternoon on the path just below the gite. It would also have been nice to have seen another goldcrest but again this was not to be. I found some notes from when I did when I did the same survey in 2009 here in Lenault on what was another horrible wet weekend and this time I did spot a wren and a great tit but also far fewer sparrows and no yellowhammers, dunnocks, buzzards, herons or thrush-like birds.
Bird rarities at Eco-Gites of Lenault
Today I was not lucky to spy any rarities but over the years we have lived here I have been lucky to see 4 really quite rare birds - a black woodpecker, a hoopoe, several black storks and a marsh harrier. More details of these beautiful birds can be found on the original blog, here, if you are interested.
Did you do the RSPB Big Garden BirdWatch this year? If so I'd love to hear about any unusual sightings you recorded.
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