Thursday, 9 April 2020

Expecting the unexpected

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 21

I'm now starting to fret about seeing a Fieldfare. And a Common Gull. It's getting a bit late for them, the time is ticking away. I've already given up hope of a Brambling and, to a lesser extent, a Redpoll. But what is wonderful about this garden vigil is the sheer unpredictability of it all, something that I'm sure you are all experiencing. This morning I finally managed to add Canada Goose to the list, after 21 days of trying. It isn't of daily occurrence here, but regular enough. If you'd have told me that I would be recording Brent Goose not once, but twice before a Canada came flapping along, I'd have seriously called your judgment into question. Such is #BWKM0...

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 149 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher.

Today's additions are : Purple Sandpiper (Michael D), Tree Pipit (Martin C), Spotted Crake (Matt P)

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ENTRIES


Our 'garden collective' stands at 56.

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Garden firsts

Matt P (Pulborough, Sussex) - Spotted Crake
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - Little Owl
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) - Moorhen
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) - Purple Sandpiper
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - Jay

There have now been 111 garden firsts across the competition.

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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/58; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/37;
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/52; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/30; 
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/xx; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/36; 
Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) - xx/37; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/39; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/56; 
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/34; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/47;
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/76;  Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/39; 
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/27; Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/25; 
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/41; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/33; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/46; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/39; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/47; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/59; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/32; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/29;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/50; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/67:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/60; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/74;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/42; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/85;   
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/54; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/54; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/50;  Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/51;
Paul D (London) 84/35; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/43;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/30; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/8;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/42; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/60Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/50; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/58; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/32; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/36; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/47; 
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/35; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/36; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/63; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/36;
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 131/50; Sye W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/31;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/45; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 96/76

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Slow motion

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 20

It has been hard going for me today. That’s three or four days (and nights) on the spin where it’s been a bit of a struggle to get results - BUT - it’s normally when you are about to give up and go inside to make a cup of tea or watch some TV that something happens. And this is why, like a sentry at the gates of Buckingham Palace I will not leave my post. Silly really, it isn’t as though there is anybody here to grip me off...

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 147 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher.

Today's additions are : Dotterel (Ian S), Grey Partridge (Michael D), Reed Warbler (Matt P)

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NEW ENTRIES

Chris P (Claygate, Surrey)
Has currently recorded 35 species

Our 'garden collective' stands at 56.

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Garden firsts

Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - Dotterel
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - Treecreeper
Jono L (Wanstead, London) - Raven
Mike P (Malling, Kent) - Mute Swan
Arjun D (Wallington, London) - Little Grebe
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) - Grey Partridge
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - Merlin

There have now been 107 garden firsts across the competition.

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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/58; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/37;
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/52; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/30; 
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/xx; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/35; 
Chris P (Claygate, Surrey) xx/35; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/39; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/54; 
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/34; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/45;
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/75;  Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/35; 
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/27; Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/25; 
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/41; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/33; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/46; 
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/37; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/47; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/55; 
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/32; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/29;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/50; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/67:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/60; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/70;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/42; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/84;   
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/53; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/54; 
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/50;  Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/51;
Paul D (London) 84/35; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/43;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/27; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/8;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/42; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/60Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/50; 
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/56; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/30; 
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/36; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/44; 
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/35; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/36; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/61; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/33;
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 113/50; Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/22;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/45; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 96/76

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Buzzards

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 19

Today here in Banstead I recorded a minimum of 18 Common Buzzards drifting through south to south-east, including one loose group of 11 birds. A few years ago this would have been scarcely believable. When I began birding in 1974 to see a Buzzard was a treat usually granted only when going on a long journey westwards or northwards. It took me another 20 years before I recorded the species in either Surrey or Kent, and it was not until 2000 that I saw one over the garden - after I had recorded Honey Buzzard here. And now? It is of daily occurrence, I can see at least two displaying pairs from the house and there is an appreciable spring passage in March and April. It is now the commonest species raptor over the garden. Red Kite is the second commonest. Bonkers.

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 144 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher.

Today's additions are : Hobby (Steve G and Wes A), Avocet (Matt P)

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ENTRIES

Our 'garden collective' stands at 55.

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Garden firsts

Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - Eider
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - Osprey
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - Sand Martin
Rueben B (Tufnell Park, London) - Common Buzzard
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - Common Scoter

There have now been 100 garden firsts across the competition.

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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/56; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/29;
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/50; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/30; 
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/xx; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/34;
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/39; 
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/45; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/34;
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/43; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/74; 
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/35; Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/27; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/25; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/39; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/33; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/44;
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/37; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/46; 
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/54;
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/32; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/29;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/50; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/67:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/60; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/70;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/42; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/82; 
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/51;  Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/53;
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/41; Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/51;
Paul D (London) 84/35; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/43;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/27; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/8;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/42; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/60Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/49;
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/56; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/28;
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/36; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/44; 
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/35; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/36; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/61; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/33;
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 113/50; Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/22;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/45; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 96/76

Monday, 6 April 2020

To noc-mig, or naked noc-mig?

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 18

There has been quite a bit of discussion recently about the merits of 'noc-migging'. For those of you who are not familiar with this term, it basically applies to the listening of bird calls as they pass over a site overnight, during the hours of darkness. For a number of years now an enterprising band of birders have been recording these sessions (via a microphone and recording device) and then downloading the digitalised sounds onto a computer where the gathered calls can be analysed with bespoke software. It is fair to say that our collective knowledge of bird calls, and which species are choosing to fly over us at night, has been revolutionised. Migration patterns, the part that weather is playing on the directions the birds are taking and species status are all being studied in the process.

Now. What is not up for discussion is the fact that if you run such a setup at home, you can happily state that the species that you have identified from your recordings are species that have been proven to fly over your garden. But gadgets have proved this, not you. Those same calls, heard with your own ear, in real time, would have been. Does that matter? No, not to me, anyway. But some birders are not as charitable, and I can see their point. They argue that, as far as listing purposes go, they should not be gifted to the observer who switched the recorder on. After all, would you tick a sound that was audible while you were asleep, or not even at home at all.

I've been tempted to buy a setup. You can get a decent one for under £100. But... there is a way of experiencing the wonders of night time migration without having to do so. It was Gavin H who coined the phrase 'naked noc-mig'. You basically sit outside and listen. You do need to know your bird calls and you only get one chance. No sound recordings will be available to analyse after the event. No hard proof will be in your possession to get that tricky record accepted. Your ears will not be as powerful and have the superior filtering capabilities of a decent microphone. And whilst it can take just 30-45 minutes to run through a night-time's worth of recording, it will take the 'naked noc-migger', well, a night-time.

My strategy? Visit that wonderful web-site Xeno-canto and listen to all the waders and wildfowl calls (many labelled as nocturnal recordings). Take in a few other species that you might possibly hear (such as Coot, Moorhen, Water Rail, Little Grebe) and a few more that you might be lucky enough to (Bittern, Ortolan Bunting). Memorise them. Pick still, overcast evenings. Hope that background noise is at a minimum. And be very, very, patient. It WILL pay off. And when you hear that flock of Common Scoter or that Oystercatcher calling above you, the hair's will stand up on the back of your neck.

Those that do use recording equipment will gather a much fuller and more accurate picture of what is happening in the night skies above us. Us ‘naked noc-miggers’ will only scratch the surface. There is room for both of us, whichever side you wish to pick.

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 141 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher.

Today's additions are : Grey Plover (Martin C), Little Gull (Matt P), House Martin (Ed S), Whitethroat (Wes A)

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No new entries today

Our 'garden collective' stands at 55.

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Garden firsts

Matt P (Amberley, West Sussex) - Little Gull
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - Lapwing
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - Egyptian Goose
Tony B (Woodford, London) - Coot
Mike P (Malling, Kent) - Ring-necked Parakeet
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) - Lesser Black-backed Gull
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - Moorhen

There have now been 95 garden firsts across the competition.

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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/55; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/29;
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/50; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/29;
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/xx; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/34;
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/38;
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/45; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/34; 
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/43; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/73;
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/35; Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/27; 
Gill H (Tenterden, Kent) 60/24; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/39; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/32; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/44;
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/34; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/42;
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/54;
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/32; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/xx;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/50; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/67:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/60; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/70;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/42; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/79;
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/48; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/53;
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/41; Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/51;
Paul D (London) 84/35; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/43;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/27; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/7;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/41; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/60Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/49;
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/55; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/28;
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/36; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/42;
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/35; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/36; 
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/60; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/33;
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 113/50; Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/22;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/45; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 94/71

Sunday, 5 April 2020

What's missing?

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 17

Most of us have been at this for over a fortnight now, and new species are becoming all the more difficult, although incoming migrants will, of course, give us a chance of bolstering our scores. But what has been bothering me more over the past few days are those species that I thought that I would have recorded by now but are still missing. Time is ticking away on several of them. My 'missing in action' species are: Canada Goose (irregular here but should still appear), Common Gull (how on earth I haven't seen one I do not know, although Black-headed Gulls have been very scarce), Grey Wagtail (an odd bird here with erratic but regular records), Fieldfare (getting a bit late now), Mistle Thrush (has always been scarce) Brambling and Redpoll (both in very low numbers locally this winter and time running out to see the former species). I'm sure that you've got your own species that you are still waiting for to show up.

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 137 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Pochard, Tufted Duck, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, House Martin.

Today's additions are : Fulmar and Manx Shearwater (Richard P), Goosander and Sedge Warbler (Matt P), Corn Bunting (Dylan W), Kittiwake and Firecrest (Mark H)

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New entries

Mark H (Littlestone, Kent)
Garden list of 135 species.
Highlights include White-tailed Eagle, Black Stork, Serin and Snow Bunting.

Rebecca G (Balham, London)
has so far recorded 7 species including Canada Goose and Ring-necked Parakeet.

Mike P (Malling, Kent)
Garden list of 70 species.
Highlights include Gannet, White Stork, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel.

This brings our 'garden collective' up to 55.

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Garden firsts

Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - Sandwich Tern
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) - Lesser Black-backed Gull
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) - Corn Bunting
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) - Cormorant
Mike P (Malling, Kent) - Ring Ouzel

There have now been 88 garden firsts across the competition.

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Honorable mentions

Wes A (Capel, Surrey) had an Osprey move through very early this morning, only his second garden record.

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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/55; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/29;
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/47; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/28;
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/xx; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/34;
Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18; Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/38;
David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/45; Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/33;
Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/43; Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/71;
Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/35; Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/xx;
Gill H, Tenterden, Kent) 60/24; Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/39; 
Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/32; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/44;
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/34; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/42;
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/54;
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/30; Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/xx;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/50; Mark H (Littlestone, Kent) 135/67:
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/58; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/66;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/40; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/78;
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/48; Mike P (Malling, Kent) 70/51;
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/41; Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/48;
Paul D (London) 84/35; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/42;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/25; Rebecca G (Balham, London) xx/7;
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/38; Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35;
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/60; Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/47;
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/52; Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/27;
Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/35; Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/42;
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/35; Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/35;
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/60; Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/xx;
Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 113/46; Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/22;
Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/42; Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 94/68

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Here they come!

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 16

The southerly airflow is here, the temperature is warming up, and an increasing number of our collective gardens are starting to record summer migrants. As we go deeper into April this migrant trickle will become a torrent. It is easy to assume that, as we are 'locked down' in our gardens, we will largely miss out on this, but that isn't strictly true. We might not get the numbers that coastal sites and inland hill tops might enjoy, but the humble back garden does and can act as a refuelling spot as well. Over the years I have seen a wide selection of warblers, chats and flycatchers utilising gardens and urban parks. If the weather conspires and rain pushes them down you can experience all sorts of weird and wonderful displaced species in the most unpromising of places. We also have a strong wader passage to come, one that does not neglect the inland birder - just a case of ears on stalks at night or 'eyes to the skies' during the day if the weather is right. Together with hirundines, swifts, wagtails and pipits making their way through the country (and over our gardens) it is not a month to be sitting indoors.

Today we have also surpassed the landmark total of 50 gardens. Good birding one and all!

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 127 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher and Firecrest. 

Today's additions are : Little Ringed Plover (Matt P), Black-tailed Godwit (Matt P), Red-legged Partridge (Benno W) and Wheatear (Dylan W)

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New entries

Jono L (Wanstead, London)
Garden list of 83.
Has so far recorded 52 species including - yes, you've guessed it - Common Scoter.

Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey)
has so far recorded 34 species including Lapwing and Tawny Owl

Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent)
has so far recorded 29 species, including our first Red-legged Partridge!

Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent)
has so far recorded 25 species, and has a historical list of 54.

This brings our 'garden collective' up to 52.

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Garden firsts

Isaiah R (New Malden, London) - Brent Goose, Coot
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - Coot
Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorkshire) - Common Scoter
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) - Mallard, Rook
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - Little Grebe
Arjun Dutta (Wallington, London) - Lapwing
Jono L (Wanstead, London) - Common Scoter
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - Sand Martin, Peregrine

There have now been 82 garden firsts across the competition.

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Garden focus
A Room With A View - starring Matt P - looking out across Pulborough Brooks
Gordon H, modelling the latest in viewing towers, Redhill, Surrey
Sean M's place of tranquility in Pinner, London
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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as up to date as I am aware).

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/48; Benno W (Goodnestone, Kent) xx/29;
Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/47; Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/21;
Callum M (Hemel Hempstead, Herts) 64/xx; Cheech A (Langley Vale, Surrey) xx/34;
Chris P (Romney Marsh, Kent) - 176/62; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/36; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/45;
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/33;  Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/41;
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/71; Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/33;
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/xx; Gill H, Tenterden, Kent) 60/24;
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/39; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/29; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/43;
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/33; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/42;
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Jono L (Wanstead, London) 83/52;
Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/27Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/xx;
Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/49; Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 77/55;
Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/65; Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/39; 
Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/76; Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/48;
Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/41; Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/48;
Paul D (London) 84/35; Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/40;
Phil B (Ramsgate, Kent) 54/25; Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/38;
Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35; Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/54
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/46; Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/52;
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/27; Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/35;
Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/39; Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/35;
Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/35; Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/60;
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/xx; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 113/46;
Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/22; Tony B (Woodford, London) 69/42;
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 94/66
Sparrowhawk, over Banstead today

Friday, 3 April 2020

Ducks deluxe

#BWKM0 ND&B garden challenge
DAY 15

It seems as if a great number of us spent some of the night standing in the garden, looking up into the heavens and straining to hear the calls of birds as they were passing overhead. For the second night running, a spectacular procession of wildfowl was there to be enjoyed. Many of us were able to record Common Scoter and Teal - a rarity and privilege for many inland birders - with a few other notable species also in the mix. It was a memorable event, and one that did not rely on the ownership of microphones and digital recorders to experience. Many bird were low enough so that calls could be clearly heard. Some observers were able to hear multiple flocks of Common Scoter pass through - this was aided by the relative silence that has fallen over our country with the reduction in traffic (both road and air). It was a rare chance to experience this type of migration in such unhindered circumstances. Some of us city and town dwellers might not get such a chance again.

There is now so much information being fed to me that it is increasingly difficult to collate the information into a meaningful post, so from tomorrow I will try to write an opening paragraph that will hopefully summarise the days efforts, but will still produce the sections that appear below. As much as this is a competition, it is first and foremost a celebration of our bird life, our gardens and the camaraderie that we are forging during these testing times. But please, still send me your sightings and totals, it is all valuable and will be used.

OUR COMBINED TOTAL IS 123 SPECIES   We still seem to be missing Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher and Firecrest. 

Today's additions are : Red-throated Diver (Michael D), Great Northern and Black-throated Diver (Seth G), Golden Eagle (Seth G), Golden Plover (Steve G), Whimbrel (Matt P), Redshank (Arjun D), Black Guillemot (Seth G), Brambling (Pete B)

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New entries

Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent)
Garden list of 101 species.
Highlights: Osprey and Crane

Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk)
Garden list of 75 species.
Highlights: Crane, Turtle Dove and Crossbill.

Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks)
Highlights: Cormorant, Red Kite, Raven.

David S (West Raynham, Norfolk)
Garden list of 87 species

This brings our 'garden collective' up to 48.

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Garden firsts

Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - Teal
Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - Teal, Wigeon and Common Scoter
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - Common Scoter
Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - Teal, Common Scoter
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - Teal
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - Teal, Common Scoter
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - Great Black-backed Gull, Red Kite and Common Scoter
Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - Teal, Common Scoter
Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - Common Scoter
Sean M (Pinner, London) - Redpoll and Tawny Owl
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - Tawny Owl
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - Teal
Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - Willow Warbler
Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - Collared Dove
Seth G (Uig, Skye) - Great Northern, Black-throated and Red-throated Diver, Merlin, Black-headed Gull, Black Guillemot

There have now been 72 garden firsts across the competition.

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How are we getting on?
Alphabetical order by first name. The first figure is the garden score as on March 20th. The second is since then (as far as I know). If xx appears it is either that I do not have the figure or it is a clerical error. Please do keep me updated and the new figure will appear as if by magic!

Arjun D (Wallington, Surrey) - 74/47; Bernard B (Ruckinge, Kent) 107/38;
Bob S (Worcester Park, Surrey) 86/21; Callum M (Hemel Hempstead) 64/xx;
Chris P (Romney Marsh, Kent) - 176/62; Dave B (Chatham Islands, Pacific Ocean) 30/18;
Dave P (Shoreham, West Sussex) - 55/26; David S (West Raynham, Norfolk) - 87/45;
Debbie S (Portland, Dorset) 155/33; Dylan W (Thanet, Kent) 111/35;
Ed S (Farncombe, Surrey) - 79/69; Gavin H (Bridport, Dorset) xx/33;
Geoff B (Chessington, Surrey) 69/xx; Gill H, Tenterden, Kent) 60/xx;
Gordon H (Redhill, Surrey) 80/34; Ian K (Leigh, Surrey) 62/29; Ian S (Sidcup, Kent) - 113/42;
Ian W (Merton Park, London) 86/31; Isaiah R (New Malden, London) 76/42;
John P (Banstead, Surrey) xx/xx; Josephine S (Leatherhead, Surrey) 40/25;
Justin T (Charmouth, Dorset) 59/xx; Mark D (Dorking, Surrey) 59/45;
Mark N (Stutton, Suffolk) - 75/45; Martin C (Lydd, Kent) 140/63;
Mathew B (Wrotham, Kent) - 33/38; Matt P (Pulborough, West Sussex) 126/71;
Michael D (Craster, Northumberland) 106/48; Mike R (Battle, East Sussex) 97/41;
Oscar D (Chiswick, London) - 67/48; Paul D (London) 84/35;
Pete B (Shadoxhurst, Kent) 101/40; Reuben B (Tufnell Park, London) - 45/38;
Richard F (Pinner, London) 63/35; Richard P (Charmouth, Dorset) - 101/52;
Robin S (Cranleigh, Surrey) - 101/42; Sam B (Enniskeane, Cork) - 67/51;
Seamus E (Thornton Cleveleys, Lancs) - 67/23; Sean M (Pinner, London) - 50/35;
Seth G (Uig, Skye) 64/35; Stephen R (Harrogate, Yorks) 66/29;
Steve C (Guildford, Surrey) 66/35; Steve G (Banstead, Surrey) - 92/59;
Steve T (Ewell, Surrey) 59/xx; Stewart S (Howick, Northumberland) 113/43;
Sy W (Aston Clinton, Bucks) - xx/22; Tony B (Woodford, Essex) 69/42;
Wes A (Capel, Surrey) - 94/66