The weather forecast did not bode well for our Big Garden Birdwatch at West Park in Macclesfield and when the leaders arrived to get setup we wondered if anyone would brave the cold wet weather.
We should have had more faith as several brave Wildlife Explorer families joined soon after to take part in the worlds biggest wildlife survey. The Big Garden Birdwatch Survey has been running since 1979 and last year over 519,000 people took part counting 8,262,662 birds. The bank of 35 years worth of data helps us to monitor trends in numbers and understand how birds are doing.
Once everyone had arrived we did a quick refresher on how to use binoculars and how to correctly count birds for the survey. Luckily most of the families were already up to speed as they are already keen birdwatchers and are planning do counts in their own gardens this weekend as well.
Leaders had placed 11 ‘birds’ around the meeting point to give everyone a chance to warm up their spotting skills and after a fair amount of cheating everyone had correctly identified every species.
With stopwatch at the ready we started our official hour of counting and made our way slowly around West Park keeping our eyes peeled for any movement high in the trees or low down in the shrubs.
Birdwatchers big and small were shouting out their spots so we could keep an official tally which we will submit at the end of the weekend.
At the halfway point, it was time to warm up a little by copying leader Tim’s flapping and penguin waddling antics. The rain eased, thankfully, and as we moved closer to the wooded areas, different birds were appearing and were added to the tally.
Our junior members might have been slightly distracted by an exciting Yew tree as we neared the end of the allocated hour but there were still a few additional bird spots had as the stopwatch alerted us to the end of our group Big Garden Birdwatch for this year.
Let’s hope that lots of people across the country brave the weather, or find a comfy spot inside their homes, to allow them to complete their own surveys and contribute their own important data to the national survey.
Bird List for today:
Wood pigeon 5
Collared dove 2
Carrion crow 3
Black headed gull 3
Great tit 1
Blue tit 4
Long tailed tit 7
Sparrow hawk 1