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The rules for eco-birding

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Chris Packham Chris Packham | 19:52 UK time, Friday, 30 October 2009

I mentioned on last week's show about eco-birding, so if you'd like to have a go here are the rules:

1. Only record different bird species seen or heard
2. You cannot leave the confines of your garden/house/flat
3. Must be within a 24-hour period
4. Remember to use windows/skylights too

I bet you'll be surprised by what you'll identify. Have a go and let us know what you got by posting a comment below.

Just to get you started, below is a list of what my friend identified from a small garden in the middle of Southampton. Just goes to show you don't need a country estate...

House sparrow, robin, dunnock, blackbird, blue tit, great tit, goldfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, jay, wood pigeon, collared dove, stock dove, jackdaw, rook, magpie, sparrowhawk, black-headed gull, starling, herring gull, goldcrest, grey wagtail, feral pigeon, song thrush, mallard, mistle thrush, crossbill, chiffchaff, carrion crow, common buzzard, meadow pipit, long-tailed tit, swallow, kestrel, coal tit, lesser black-backed gull, cormorant, pied wagtail, great black-backed gull, common gull.

Total: 40 seen between 7.30am - 1pm and 3.45pm - 6.30pm

Comments

  • 1. At 10:15pm on 30 Oct 2009, Wildlife Filmer Adam wrote:

    Chris, I do a lot of Eco-Birding.

    Yesterday I saw:

    15 Goldfinches

    1 Greater Spotted Woodpecker

    2 Bluetits

    3 Dunnocks

    and

    1 Robin



    Adam L Canning
    Frankley, Birmingham

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  • 2. At 00:02am on 31 Oct 2009, Mark Etherton wrote:

    Tried it last weeek. nowhere near 40. \see my blog

    http://markethertonspeak.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!D533C137770FCB59!154.entry

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  • 3. At 00:14am on 31 Oct 2009, Upthebraes wrote:

    This is a general comment I can find nowhere else to write. Your comments Chris about your genitalia, made frequently throughout the show are wearing a bit thin. Your 8.30pm start means loads of kids will be watching and being told in various ways and ineuendo that you don't have any trouble with your balls is not wholey appropriate. Give us a break keep them to yourself

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  • 4. At 2:55pm on 31 Oct 2009, spellbindingJanette wrote:

    In the past 24 hours,I have already observed the following birds around my garden:
    Chaffinch, Greenfinch, starling, sparrow, robin, wren, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, jackdaw, crow, magpie,blackbird, thrush, dunnock.

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  • 5. At 3:18pm on 31 Oct 2009, Wildlife Filmer Adam wrote:

    Today I have had:

    Goldfinches

    Bluetits

    Robin

    Coaltit

    1 Greenfinch

    Starlings

    Collared Doves

    Magpies

    Sparrows


    Adam L Canning
    Frankley, Birmingham

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  • 6. At 7:59pm on 31 Oct 2009, richardhiggins2 wrote:

    On the Saturday night programme of autumn watch it was stated that ivy should not be feared for pulling down walls.

    This is, unfortunatley, incorrect.
    I am an environmental consultant and a 'micro organic advisor.'

    I can show you two walls, that's wall of walled gardens, that have been pulled down by ivy, near here.

    The third is being pulled down on the walled garden where I live at High Canons Estate,Hertfordshire.


    If there is anything else you might find interesting for your programme please visit our new web site at www.newdirectionsfoundtion.org

    kind regards
    Richard Higgins.
    (I met Kate Humble in Chiswick one time)

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  • 7. At 8:00pm on 31 Oct 2009, richardhiggins2 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 8. At 08:52am on 01 Nov 2009, John Rostron wrote:

    Why is it that, whenever we settle down to a scheduled recording session such as the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch or a day's eco-birding, all the species that we regularly see go and hide until it is over?

    John

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  • 9. At 10:27am on 01 Nov 2009, nativegardener wrote:

    42 birds seen from our house/garden between 7am - 2pm and 6pm - 11pm.
    Crow, Rook, Magpie, Goldfinch, Siskin, Chaffinch, Hse Sparrow, Dunnock, Jay, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, Starling, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Coal Tit, Robbin, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Long Tailed Tit, Fieldfare, Redwing, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Collared Dove, Meadow pipit, Black Headed Gull, Chiff Chaff, Wood Pigeon, Mallard, Kestrel, Song Thrush, Pheasant, Green Woodpecker, Heron, Tawny Owl, Barn Owl and Brent Goose.
    I'm lucky enough to live in the New Forest and since moving here 5 years ago have spotted more than 80 different species from our garden.

    Helen and Paula in The New Forest

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  • 10. At 3:28pm on 01 Nov 2009, SingleWelshFemale wrote:

    It's very wet and windy here in "sunny" Wales today, so only the very hardiest of birds seem to be venturing out - so I'll give this a go next weekend. Also gives me time to install a few bird-feeders, or is that aginst the rules?! ;-)

    Chris - I would just like to say that I am loving you on Autumnwatch. You bring a much needed breath of fresh air and humour to the show. And I see nothing at all wrong with your innuendo . . .having recently seen clips of Rainbow it is now obvious just how much innuendo there was on that children's show, all of which went straight over the heads of us kids. Any children who pick up on your innuendo are obviously already fairly knowing!

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  • 11. At 6:12pm on 01 Nov 2009, birchlyon wrote:

    We watched on Saturday between 9am and noon and this is a list of what we saw, some of them were a real surprise.
    Wood Pigeons, (we have a cheeky one that sits on our bird table and eats seed from the bird feeder until hes so full he can hardly fly).
    Magpies
    Wren, seen for the first time.
    Robin
    Blue Tit
    Great Tit
    Coal Tit
    Green finches
    Chaffinch
    Green Woodpecker
    Jay
    Blackbird
    Thrush
    Gold Finch
    Siskin
    Nuthatch again first sighting
    Seagull, it was flying over so I couldn't see what type
    Raven, or it could be a crow
    Sparrows
    Long tailed tit, again first sighting and there were a few of them
    Starlings.

    At one point they all flew off in a panic and this is usually when the sparrow hawk visits, I didn't see it today though. Sometimes both the male and female come and sit on our fence, they are wonderful birds and I have seen them take green finches, it always surprises me that the female is bigger than the male.
    I live in Bracknell, fairly near the crown estate forest and we have a wide range of wildlife, including foxes and pheasants.

    Catherine and Tim

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  • 12. At 10:30pm on 01 Nov 2009, scotsgirl wrote:

    Shorter list than usual today I'm afraid!

    Blackbirds
    Mistle thrush
    Jackdaws
    Greenfinch
    Blue tit
    Robin
    Tawny owl (heard not seen)

    Singlewelshgirl: I agree about Chris and the innuendo. No harm in it: if the kids understand it they already know too much!

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  • 13. At 10:32pm on 01 Nov 2009, scotsgirl wrote:

    Forgot to post location : Scottish Borders

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  • 14. At 10:36pm on 01 Nov 2009, scotsgirl wrote:

    Re: short list above. Weather was awful today, will do again next weekend.

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  • 15. At 5:07pm on 02 Nov 2009, Cosper wosper wrote:

    LOL...lots of SBBs don't get chance to count them as either a Sparrow hawk or the cat from next door shows its face.
    I'm too old for all this. I think I'll hang over the bridge and count Eels, fat chance of seeing any, where have all the Eels gone chris?

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  • 16. At 6:26pm on 02 Nov 2009, Mark Etherton wrote:

    Beautiful day today in Wheatley near Oxford. I saw the following between dawn and dusk.
    Blutit
    Robin
    Crow,
    Jackdaw
    Collared Dove
    Wood Pigeon
    Wren
    Chaffinch
    Blackbird
    Red Kite
    Dark Thrush type bird but couldn't identify it.
    Great Tit
    Magpie
    Pheasant (Does this count?)

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  • 17. At 11:26pm on 02 Nov 2009, Linda wrote:

    Ribble Vally, East Lancashire

    It has been too wild and wet this weekend to do any serious bird counting, but the sparrows and jackdaws braved the weather. One jackdaw was blown off the fence and had to cling on for dear life!
    I am surprised at how many of the above contributors don't have house sparrows. I have between 30 and 40 who stay all day. I will try again next time we get a decent day.

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  • 18. At 00:10am on 03 Nov 2009, Evielane wrote:

    In an unexpected lull between November gales on the Mendips, I got a neat 24 in 24 hours:

    Blue Tit
    Great Tit
    Long Tailed Tit
    Robin
    Dunnock
    Wren (heard only)
    Chaffinch
    Greenfinch
    Blackcap

    Carrion Crow
    Rook
    Magpie
    Jackdaw

    Greater Black Backed Gull
    Herring Gull
    Black Headed Gull
    (all flyovers)

    Woodpigeon
    Collared Dove

    Starling
    Blackbird
    Song Thrush

    Redwing - a group overhead

    Sparrowhawk - a female along the woodline, not in the garden today

    Tawny Owl - making their usual evening racket

    No finch flock on the feeders yet, they are late this year. Hopefully down to the mild autumn and plenty of natural food in the woods. They don't need my sunflower hearts yet!

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  • 19. At 10:59am on 03 Nov 2009, armadilloslim wrote:

    eco-birding results for 2nd Nov from merthyr tydfil in south wales, a total of 23 species on this particular day, but have recorded 43 in total over the past few years.

    great tit
    blue tit
    coal tit

    green finch
    goldfinch
    chaffinch
    bull finch

    house sparrow
    dunnock
    robin
    wren
    nuthatch (1st time in garden)

    jakdaw (seen a white jakdaw this year but havent seen it for a few weeks)
    magpie
    carrion crow

    mistle thrush
    blackbird (up to 7 at once, both male and female hence a lot of argy-bargy)
    redwing (1st of year feeding of hawthorn berries)
    wood pigeon (one of which was the lesser known kamakazi pigeon and flew into my kitchen window, it bounced)
    collard dove
    feral pigeon

    herring gull
    grey heron

    hope this is of interest

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  • 20. At 12:08pm on 03 Nov 2009, jeztorrance wrote:

    Hi all, these are fabulous. Many thanks. Please keep them coming in.

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  • 21. At 10:59pm on 04 Nov 2009, Skylark wrote:

    Over last weekend I saw & heard in my garden in Devon over 24 hours:

    Greenfinch
    Chaffinch
    Goldfinch
    Robin
    Wren
    Dunnock
    Blackbird
    Song Thrush (only heard)
    Blue tit
    Great tit
    Long tailed tit (heard them before I saw them)
    Coal tit
    Nuthatch
    House Sparrow (counted 28 all in the hawthorn tree!)


    Magpie - for once actually in the orchard not flying across
    Jay (only heard)
    Carrion Crow
    Rook
    Jackdaw
    Herring Gull (flyover)
    Collard Dove
    Wood Pigeon

    Golden Plover!!!! (small flock of about 15 birds, flying very high, again heard them before I saw them!)

    Buzzard (flyover)

    Great Spotted Woodpecker - late in the day, come in for the nuts

    Pied Wagtail - dancing on the roof! (catching insects in fact)

    Heron (flyover - see them a lot here, being so close to the River Torridge)

    Redwing - stood in the garden in the blackness, heard them & went for a walk last night, heard them flying over, quite a number

    Tawny Owl - heard rather then saw!

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  • 22. At 1:18pm on 05 Nov 2009, that ruddy duck wrote:

    During my ECO birding session over the 24 hour period midday-midday 2nd/3rd november, I recorded the following species:

    Blackbird - 2
    House Sparrows - 26 on and around my garden feeders and Hawthorn hedge
    Dunnock - 2
    Song Thrush - 1
    Robin - 2
    Wren - 1
    Wood Pigeon - 4 mopping up around feeders
    Collared Dove - 3
    Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
    Green Woodpecker - heard but not seen
    Sparrowhawk - 1 soaring overhead (sometimes in garden after sparrows and sometimes being mobbed overhead by crows or Ring Necked Parakeets)
    Starling - 60 ish congregate each morning in nearby tree
    Goldfinch - 5
    Greenfinch 2
    Chaffinch - 1
    Redpoll - 4
    Linnet - 3
    Nuthatch - 1
    Blue Tit - 18
    Great Tit - 12
    Long Tailed Tit - 6 (all 3 species of Tits in one flock of 36 birds flitting around shrubs hedges and trees. There were more but I couldn't identify them)
    Grey Heron - 1 flying over
    Canada Goose - 7 flying over after leaving nearby pond at dusk
    Ring Necked Parakeet - 11 flying over and on nut feeders in garden
    Tawney Owl - 1 heard but not seen
    Magpie - 6 carrying on alarmingly
    Jay - 2
    Crow - 5 in nearby tree
    Herring Gull - 3 circling around but not 100% sure they were Herring Gulls

    29 species in total.
    Orpington, Kent

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  • 23. At 1:20pm on 05 Nov 2009, that ruddy duck wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 24. At 11:09am on 06 Nov 2009, armadilloslim wrote:

    Not that i'm being competative or anything (allthough i am)the score for the 4th nov is 30, remembered i had a front garden as well as a back (handy tip there for free). Also a question, i saw a few sparrows collecting feathers and bits of grass, do they insulate their winter roosts?

    Robin
    House sparrow
    greenfinch
    goldfinch
    chaffinch

    bullfinch
    dunnock
    wren
    blue tit
    great tit

    coal tit
    long-tailed tit
    tree creeper
    nuthatch
    blackbird

    mistle thrush
    song thrush
    magpie
    carrion crow
    jakdaw

    jay
    collered dove
    wood pigeon
    feral pigeon
    starling

    buzzard
    red kite (the first ive seen over Merthyr which is fantastic!)
    herring gull
    redwing
    grey heron

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  • 25. At 4:04pm on 06 Nov 2009, J Luck wrote:

    Our garden - close to sea and country in urban area.
    6 doves (black neck ring)
    5 starlings
    5 crows
    6 greenfinches
    2 house sparrow
    dunnock
    bluetit
    chaffinch
    magpie
    Food put out mixed seed / currants /chopped nut

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  • 26. At 9:58pm on 06 Nov 2009, wild4wildlife wrote:

    Is Bill Oddie extinct or can he be reintroduced to the show? Is there a case for eliminating the invasive species Chris Packhaminus?

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  • 27. At 10:06pm on 06 Nov 2009, nicki wrote:

    Hi Chris, i'm very new to this, i watch all the shows autumnwatch, springwatch, watching tonight and listening about owl's, and Tawney owl's, i wantted to send a photo in, but don't know how to, It's of a Tawney old that i rescued from inside a house, he/she wasn't hurt at all, but it was a great experience releasing him/her back into the wild, nicki
    [Personal details removed by Moderator]

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  • 28. At 10:57pm on 06 Nov 2009, soc123 wrote:

    Hi Chris,
    Last winter I would have quite long "conversations" ie whistles by me and hoots from a male tawney owl that was resident in a small piece of urban mixed woodland on the east side of Southampton. These conversations would take place generally after 10.30pm, and the owl would come closer and closer until losing interest. However, I never caught sight of it. To date this Autumn the conversations have been decidedly one-sided (from me), but I am competing currently with fireworks!
    Colin

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  • 29. At 12:28pm on 25 Nov 2009, SingleWelshFemale wrote:

    I'm off work sick at the moment, so have finally had chance to do some eco-birding from the comfort of my sofa. Which luckily is placed so as to have a nice view out onto my backgarden and feeders. Can't get much more eco than not even leaving the sofa! I think I'm a bit late for the blog now, but am going to post anyway.

    Between 8 and 4ish yesterday the following birds visited my feeders:

    Blue tits
    Great tits
    Coal tits (lots of all the above - last year I used to have lots of long tailed tits visiting too, but haven't seen any at all this year. If anyone sees this post, have they noticed the same?)

    Wren
    Black bird
    Robin
    Great spotted woodpecker
    Dunnock
    Chaffinch (these last two were clearing up seeds that had been dropped onto the ground below the feeders)

    And, for the first time, what I have identified as possibly a fire crest - a tiny litle thing it was fluttering around in a bush outside my backdoor. Very noticeable black strips on top of head and through eye.

    Also, in the wood behind my house:

    Magpies
    Crows
    Wood pidgeon

    During the day I also heard seagulls and jackdaws.

    I think I need to stay home sick more often!

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