Saturday, 1 February 2020

Big Birdwatch 2020: The Results

This year's big birdwatch took place on the morning of 26th January. The sky was overcast most of the time, but the weather was mild and about a dozen people came with us on the guided walk. We spent a hour walking through most areas of the park and saw 24 species which is not a record, but a  respectable tally. The highlights were a pair of nuthatches and 15 Redwing all seen in the east field.

The nuthatch has blue-grey upperparts, buff underparts, a black stripe across the side of its head and a long pointed bill which it uses to dig insects out of tree trunks. It is very agile and the only British bird that can descend a tree trunk head first. There are better photos on the web, but the one above (taken in Sydenham Hill Wood a few years ago) shows it in action. It has a distinctive call which can be listened to on the RSPB website. The fact that we saw two together is a hopeful sign that they will nest and breed in the park this coming spring.

Redwings on Hilly Fields: 2018
The Big Birdwatch is the first time we've seen Redwing in the park this winter. Redwings are thrushes which migrate here in the autumn from Scandinavia and depart in the early spring. Berries and fruits are their food of choice but when those are running out, they'll make do with worms and insects. The red under the wing which gives them their name is not always as obvious as in the above photo, but the white stripe arching over the eye is another distinctive feature.

The rest of the count as recorded on the Big Birdwatch Blackboard is as follows: 35 Black-headed Gull, 20 Starling, 12 Common Gull, 10 Goldfinch, 10 House Sparrow, 5 each of Great Tit, Robin and Woodpigeon, 4 each of Blue Tit, Crow and Ring-necked Parakeet, 3 each of Feral Pigeon and Magpie, 2 each of Blackbird and Chaffinch, 1 each of Coal Tit, Collared Dove, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Song Thrush and Wren.

 Rachel and Emily did a sterling job on the Big Birdwatch Table outside the cafe and persuaded numerous children to make seedballs which hung from nearby trees at the end of the event. Thanks to the 'other bird champion' Sue and to Conrad, Lawrence and Rupert for lending their expertise, to Judith from Glendale for her support and to the cafe as always just for being there. Our Dawn Chorus Walk will be on Thursday 2nd April at 6.00 am. See you there!

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