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