Mr Bewick’s Birdwatch

9781108065405fc3dIt was the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, and at 8.15 a.m. on Saturday I was there to do my duty at the French windows, with coffee and pain au chocolat (for the birds) and newly topped up seeds, fatballs, peanuts and nyjer seeds (for me). For a change, the weather was cloudlessly sunny, and so I hoped for rather better things than last year, when in the dank and wet almost nothing put in an appearance.

I have to thank Mr Thomas Bewick for his contribution as Guest Illustrator, adding grace and humour to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative. In one hour, I saw:

Robin2 robins

1 wren (which was lovely – I know he (they?) are in the ivy on the back wall, but I don’t often see them)

Blue tit1 bluetit

Dunnock 1 dunnock

Blackbird1 (male) blackbird


As flyovers (which don’t count for survey purposes), I mustered:

Rook2 rooks

Wood pigeon 2 woodpigeons

Black-headed gull1 blackheaded gull


Not wildly impressive, I admit – though of course ornithological one-upmanship is not what it’s about. However, in the course of a normal winter day (when not clamped to the CLC office desk, obviously), I would also expect at least a few from among:


2 blackcaps (a pair are over-wintering)

Great tit

Great tits

Long-tailed titLong-tailed tits

Greenfinch Greenfinches


GoldfinchGoldfinches (on the nyjer seed)

Song thrush A song thrush

House sparrowHouse-sparrows (the most numerous (and boring) birds of my childhood, which after a crash in population now seem to be making a come-back)


Sparrow-hawkOn one, never-to-be-forgotten occasion, a sparrowhawk on the fence.

And many more bluetits and blackbirds. Plus collared doves, which weren’t around in Bewick’s day, being immigrants from Europe on the 1950s. And, of course, at least one grey squirrel, performing incredible acrobatic feats to get at the food in the so-called squirrel-proof feeders. Better luck next year?


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2 Responses to Mr Bewick’s Birdwatch

  1. julz says:

    this is a beautiful and interesting book – I am reblogging this post to my own site – – thanks

  2. julz says:

    Reblogged this on julz crafts and commented:
    I am reblogging this post from the website of the Cambridge Library Collection – its a beautiful old book and I only found it because I was looking for a post to reblog as a challenge from the members of blogging101 January 2015 – this is the first time I’ve reblogged anything!

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