I have been a ‘fan’ of The Times columnist Simon Barnes for quite a while. Simon is a well known sportswriter, but his columns that interest me most are those on wildlife, especially birds. His book ‘How to be a bad birdwatcher’ was serialised on Radio 4; I have been fortunate enough to obtain a copy courtesy of a Mind charity shop.
Last January I posted a piece Watch The Birdie on my Writelink blog about the birds I saw in my garden in 2009. I have just collated my records for 2010. This year they cover 339 days (330 in 2009).
As in the previous year I have seen 35 different types, averaging 22 (23) and month and 8 (9) per day.
There has only been one change in the top ten most frequent visitors with the robin entering the list in place of the greenfinch. Top of the pile again is the wood pigeon on 95% of the days (93 in 2009), followed by rook 93% (78), blackbird 85% (89), starling 67% (69), collared dove 64% (72), sparrow 60% (41), robin 53% (29), gull 44% (48), hedge sparrow 42% (40) and the blue tit 40% (34).
A tree creeper put in an appearance in December; newcomers during the year were owls, fieldfares and the most spectacular arrival, a woodcock which crashed into the front window on December 27th.
My favourite photo was of the goldfinches in the conifer in our front garden on Boxing Day (See Boxing Day Birds). Did you know that the collective noun for them is a charm of goldfinches?
However my favourite birds of the year were not in my garden but the sand cranes on Oxford Hills golf course in Michigan. They were quite content to share the course with us.