It’s the first day of the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch - and things aren’t going too well for Yours Truly.
Despite stocking up with fresh bird food, suet balls, half a coconut stuffed with good things and a plastic container full of meal-worms, the feathered friends which normally frequent our garden have once more deserted us. I kid you not, it happens
every year without fail. The only positive I have been able to draw from this sorry state of affairs is that, while replenishing the bird feeders, I also took some time out to remove lots of dead foliage from the borders, in the process uncovering dozens of
daffodil shoots which had been valiantly trying to fight their way through.
My friend and leader of our Birdy Group, the Lovely Linda, posts a most impressive
tally of Birds Spotted on Facebook. Goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinch, sparrows, blackbirds, Robin, starlings and four different types of tit, along with the usual pigeons, magpies and seagulls. I can only surmise that all my FF have hot-tailed it along
to her garden where greater treats doubtless awaited them.
When we first started participating in the annual Bird Watch, some time ago now, Mr B used to join me.
I would push the two seater settee up to the patio doors where we would sit in Sweet Companionship nursing mugs of coffee for a pleasant hour, recording our birdy visitors. Such as they were. The RSPB used to have an on-line timer, to help the exercise along,
posing questions on the Life of Birds every ten minutes or so. They don’t seem to do that anymore, unless I am missing something, which is a great shame as it kept Mr B and me entertained in the absence of birds in the garden.
Today he declines to join me, saying he will keep a beady eye out from his armchair - but given that he is watching footie on the TV I can’t see he is going to be much help. I do, however, have
a rather splendid set of binoculars, on loan from my friend Eleanor, so I feel well equipped if nothing else.
I think back to last year’s (similarly
unsuccessful Watch) and the advice given by two of my Birdy Group friends. One explained that he never bothered to record sightings over the space of an allotted hour but simply sent in a tally of all the birds that usually frequented his garden. This didn’t
seem to be quite the object of the exercise but I couldn’t help admiring his way of thinking out of the (bird) box.
Another Birdy companion said she waited
until several birds had arrived in her garden for their customary meal (breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner or supper) and started counting the hour down from that moment, thus ensuring at least a reasonable list to send in to the Royal Society of Powers that Be.
I am thinking I might just adopt this idea though I’m slightly concerned that the greedy ones might flock to my feeders just at the moment when I have to go out.
It’s getting quite gloomy out in the back garden so I think I will have to call it a day and regroup for Plan B tomorrow. I go upstairs to sort out today’s laundry, taking a last look out of the bedroom window as I do.
I still can’t see any birds but I can hear plenty of twittering.
- possibly - be laughing at me?