Every January since 1979 people across the UK have taken part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey: the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Despite the name, you don’t need a garden to take part; many people visit their local park for the survey. Clare and I count the birds in the section of the estate we can see from our balcony, which includes two mature trees and planted bed of around 200 square metres.
Over the six years we’ve lived here we’ve seen fourteen bird species, adding blackcap to the list this winter. Five have graced our balcony: we’ve had single visits from a rook, a magpie, a wren, and a blue tit, and one year we had repeated visits from a pair of pigeons.
Our rather monochrome Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 results include the four usual suspects — feral pigeon, herring gull, magpie, and carrion crow — but this year they are joined by the pied wagtail, which are often seen around the estate but usually go into hiding during the birdwatch: