2016, FSC, Juniper Hall, Uncategorized

Big Garden Birdwatch & Spring Index

By Rowena

This weekend was the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, apparently the biggest wildlife survey in the world! If you’ve not heard of it, you sit by a window and record the birds you see in your garden over the course of an hour. Easy stuff. At Juniper Hall, we have a pretty big “garden”, so Daniel Farnes took it on himself to spend his hour over the weekend watching what came past. Can you ID what he spotted too?

Answers at the bottom of the page. Images from Wikicommons

I didn’t get to do my own birdwatch this weekend as I suddenly decided to go away (it happens…), but when I spot birds around the centre- and out and about as well- I add recordings to the BTO’s Birdtrack list. This is a recording site for birders around the country, recording what they see in their local patches and on formal transects too. I don’t use it quite as much as I probably should do, as I tend to forget to upload common birds and get excited about recording rarer birds (a woodpecker will make it, whereas the blue tits always outside East & West classrooms might not), but it’s pretty cool. Over January, I’ve spotted some other nice birds around centre though…

Long-tailed tit, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Blackbird, Green Parakeet, Red kite. Images from Birdguides

You might have guessed by now, I quite like my birds. It’s true, and I love recording them! The FSC run something called the Spring Index, which is a long-term study looking at when Spring “officially starts”. The aim is to look out for iconic indicators of Spring. The FSC Spring Index records 4 spring indicators; the first flowering of hawthorn and horse chestnut, the first orange-tip butterfly, and the first swallow. The Woodland Trust take things a bit further and run the Nature’s Calendar, which has a whole load of different indicators they ask people to look for. If you like recording nature, definitely get involved!

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Some records filled in already!

There’s a bit of data on the movement of Spring already, and it seems to be getting earlier and earlier every year. Certainly I don’t remember seeing daffodils in December like I did at the end of 2015! The first snowdrops came out this weekend, so warmer weather is on its way… A tad different to a couple of years ago when there was snow on the ground.

ID Answers (from left to right); Carrion crow, Eurasian magpie, Feral pigeon

Buzzard, Black-headed gull, Ring-necked pheasant (female)