2018 was a very quiet year; Due to dystonia spasms which caused a few broken vertebrae, foot, ribs and torn oblique muscles sadly stopped me from changing my career from finance to horticulture / gardening as had been the plan for 2018.
I didn’t manage many trips to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and was mainly stuck within a 600 meter radius of my house located in Corstorphine, Edinburgh West. Sadly the local green space is just too far out of my reach and with how many potholes in Edinburgh roads I couldn’t travel in a car for pain in the vertebrae. Once again due to pain 2019 looks like it will be mainly garden only list.
Once again for 2019 I’ll be using bird food from RSPB.
It’s time now for the start of my 2018 Garden bird list 2017 showed most of the common British garden birds with a total of 34 birds, unlike 2016 where I had a few more unusual birds for a city garden and a total of 40.
Sadly Dystonia will mainly have me stuck at home again, update August 2018 I was studying horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh to learn more about making my garden wildlife friendly sadly I broke my ribs and tore my oblique muscles in February and then broke a couple of vertebrae in May it means my studies are on hold again. I may try and do a separate RBGE bird list as the gardens have a great diversity of bird species there and are fantastic to watch.
Kestrel – Feb 22nd – FOx2, only second time I’ve seen Kestrels over the garden.
Lesser black-backed gull – March 4th
Long-tailed Tit – Jan 2nd
Magpie – Jan 2nd
Oystercatcher – Jan 19th – FO
Redwing – March 3rd – snow on the ground.
Robin – Jan 1st
Rook – April 21st
Song Thrush – March 4th – snow still on ground.
Sparrowhawk – Jan 13th
Starlings – Jan 7th
Swift – June 12th
Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
Wren – Jan 10th
8 Species as of January 1st 2018.
12 Species as of January 2nd 2018.
14 Species as of January 3rd 2018.
15 Species as of January 7th 2018.
16 Species as of January 8th 2018.
17 Species as of January 10th 2018.
19 Species as of January 13th 2018.
20 Species as of January 16th 2018.
21 Species as of January 18th 2018.
22 Species as of January 19th 2018.
23 Species as of January 25th 2018.
24 Species as of February 3rd 2018.
25 Species as of February 22nd 2018.
26 Species as of March 2nd 2018.
28 Species as of March 3rd 2018.
31 Species as of March 4th 2018.
32 Species as of March 7th 2018.
33 Species as of April 21st 2018.
34 Species as of June 12th 2018. 35 Species as of August 30th 2018.
36 Species as of September 8th 2018.
Green Woodpecker Edinburgh.
Not in my garden but I had to mention a life first and that is seeing a European green woodpecker Picus viridis in Corstorphine Edinburgh, Lothians, Scotland on 28th of December 2018.
I’m currently working on a gardening website that will hopefully be up and running later in 2018, it will obviously have a fair bit about wildlife, and the book Sammy The Shrew for sale which is raising money for charities.
2018 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results, Saturday 27th of January.
A very windy day, grey and over cast, yet warm. The first crocus of the year started showing today.
I know this site is dedicated to birds but one of the important things for birds is their food and a great way to increase birds in your garden is by increasing the number of insects, the people at Butterfly Conservation (savebutterflies on twitter) have put together a brilliant list of plants that are nectar rich and perfect for insects many not just for butterflies but bees, moths and some berry producing ones great for many birds.
I’ve searched the internet for places that sell plants or seeds recommended by Butterfly Conservation, for those that I couldn’t I’ve linked to suggested searches on ebay. I will be trying to grow many of these to attract as much wildlife to the garden as possible to help the wildlife and in the hope of being able to photograph birds, mammals and insects from home while I’m not able to walk very well.
Sadly I lost all the links to where you could buy the plants, I hope to fix this once my new gardening website is up and running.
Mini wildflower meadow Empathy mini wildflower meadow – I’m going to be trying this one in my garden
Buddleia / Buddleja
butterfly bush Buddleja ‘Lochinch’
butterfly bush Buddleja davidii ‘White Profusion’
butterfly bush Buddleja davidii ‘Black Knight’ – I really like this one
Butterfly Bush Buddleja davidii ‘Royal Red’ – RHS Perfect for Pollinators
Buddleia Nanho Purple 1 Plant 3 litre | Buy Plants, Shrubs and Trees Online | Shrubs
alpine mint bush Prostanthera cuneata – alpine mint bush
peppermint seeds Mentha piperita – peppermint
herb collection – mint, rosemary, thyme, parsley & sage or lavender Herb Collection ‘(6 Mixed Herbs)’ – mixed herbs
Tasty Herb Collection 12 Jumbo Ready Plants | Garden Vegetables | Jersey Plants Direct – mixed herbs
Onions – I’ve chosen ornamental onions, but obviously there are great benefits from standard onions – like being able to eat them!
giant ornamental onion Allium giganteum
ornamental onion Allium schubertii
virginia stock seeds
Petunia – make sure they’re single flowered as often the double aren’t great for wildlife.
40 plus 20 FREE large plug plants Petunia ‘Fantasia Mixed’
Petunia Surfina Classic (Trailing) Red 24 Jumbo Ready Plants | Ready Plants
Cotoneaster – these are great for birds too, I had a few small plants in my old garden and a fieldfare came and devoured all the fruit in one day. Was happy to see it!
cotoneaster Cotoneaster frigidus ‘Cornubia’
cotoneaster Cotoneaster dammeri
Buttercup – 4000 seeds can cost around £5:
Eranthis hyemalis – winter aconite
winter aconite – In The Green Eranthis hyemalis Buddleia is by far the best nectar plant and is first favourite with 18 species: Brimstone, Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large Skipper, Large White, Meadow Brown, Painted Lady, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Copper, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood and Wall Brown.
Check ebay for more great wild flower and meadow plants & seeds:
Like 2016 I sadly won’t be getting to do a lot of walking and birding away from my house, as I’m stuck at home most days I’ve been increasing the amount of wildlife friendly plants (I’d do this anyway even if I wasn’t housebound) in the garden and hoping that over time this will attract and help more birds.
I had a good garden bird list for 2016 – 2016 Edinburgh Garden Bird List – with the addition of the first Redstart I’ve ever seen, great to have a lifer in my garden! All up for 2016 there were 40 bird species I managed to identify. There were geese that flew over that I didn’t manage to ID and a few warblers in the garden very briefly that I also couldn’t ID, I will be training up on warblers to see if I can get them for 2017.
To attract birds to my garden, as well as gardening for wildlife when I can, I use RSPB food and feeders, find great products at their website, also great for gifts for nature lovers. I am a member of the RSPB and SOC as they do great work for UK and World birds.
Kestrel – May 31st – FO – think this is the first I’ve seen over my garden.
Long-tailed tit – October 14th
Magpie – Jan 2nd
Oystercatcher – July 13th – FO
Redwing – Jan 30th
Robin – Jan 1st
Rook – March 23rd
Siskin – April 28th
Song Thrush – Jan 4th
Sparrowhawk – Jan 7th
Starling – Jan 1st
Stock Dove – Jan 5th
Swift – June 18th – 3 days later than last year, I haven’t seen a single swallow this year.
Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
Wren – Jan 24th
12 Species as of January 1st 2017.
13 Species as of January 2nd 2017.
14 Species as of January 3rd 2017.
16 Species as of January 4th 2017.
17 Species as of January 5th 2017.
19 Species as of January 7th 2017.
20 Species as of January 13th 2017.
21 Species as of January 24th 2017.
22 Species as of January 30th 2017.
24 Species as of February 19th 2017.
25 Species as of March 23rd 2017.
26 Species as of April 13th 2017.
27 Species as of April 28th 2017.
28 Species as of May 31st 2017.
29 Species as of June 18th 2017.
30 Species as of July 13th 2017.
31 Species as of July 25th 2017.
32 Species as of August 13th 2017.
33 Species as of October 14th 2017.
34 Species as of December 29th 2017.
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 30th of January 2017:
This year a few of the sparrows showed up, unlike in 2016: 2016 bird list and RSPB Big garden bird watch but of course more showed up just after I finished my hour. The highlight was the Redwing and the 17 Magpies. First Redwing of the year.
Blackbird x 4
Blue Tit x 2
Dunnock x 3
Great Tit x 2
Greenfinch x 1
House Sparrow x 3
Magpie x 17
Redwing x 1
Robin x 2
Woodpigeon x 2
Frost on the ground, count done between 10.20am and 11.20am.
I was in for an operation on 30th of December 2015 and I probably won’t get to leave my house much again during 2016 (except doctor appointments). My generalised dystonia is getting worse and causing many more injuries. This year I figure I’ll just have a garden bird list, birds in the garden & above and only update this one post.
To attract birds to my garden, as well as gardening for wildlife when I can, I use RSPB food and feeders, find great products at their website, also great for gifts for nature lovers.
Black-headed gull – first 100% ID February 18th – was mobbing a sparrowhawk.
Chaffinch – first sighting 28th of January – haven’t seen one in the garden since 2014.
Chiffchaff – 14th of August 2016.
Common Buzzard – FO March 7th.
Cormorant – FO June 19th.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Grey Heron – Flying over February 19th.
Herring Gull – managed ID April 29th, landed to get the food waste bin opened by council workers.
Lesser black-backed gull – managed ID April 29th, landed to get the food waste bin opened by council workers.
Oystercatcher – FO February 23rd.
Redstart – 1 male – first I’ve ever seen – April 20th.
Redwing – 24th of December – what a great bird for Christmas Eve!
Rook – April 30th.
Siskin – 2 females on feeders, first time I’ve seen them in the garden for 3 years, March 21st.
Swallow – FO – 15th of May.
Swift – FO – 15th of June.
22 (2 little ducks) bird species by the 18th of January.
23 birds as 28/01/16
24 birds as 30/01/16
26 birds as 08/02/16
27 birds as 18/02/16
28 birds as 19/02/16
29 birds as 23/02/16 – there have also been flocks of geese flying over at night and during the day, very high, not sure what type.
30 birds as 07/03/16
31 birds as 21/03/16
32 birds as 20/04/16
34 birds as 29/04/16
35 birds as 30/04/16
36 birds as 15/05/16
37 birds as 15/06/16
38 birds as 19/06/16
39 birds as 14/08/16
40 birds as 24/12/16
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 30th of January 2016:
Blackbird x 9
Blue Tit x 3
Bullfinch x 1
Carrion crow x 1
Coal Tit x 2
Dunnock x 1
Greenfinch x 6
Robin x 1
Song Thrush x 1
Woodpigeon x 1
Snow on the ground and occasional showers of snow. 10.20am until 11.20am.
Odd that the usual flock of house sparrows wasn’t to be seen, there’s normally up to 30 most days, any time of day.
The Sparrowhawk was after the song thrush!
Merry Christmas everyone! I had 3 great birds in my garden today on top of all the other fantastic birds that usually grace the garden. Christmas day has often been a great time for birds in my garden as all the roads are quiet around here and more birds venture into the garden. Over the last 4 Christmases in this house it’s been getting better and better. no Blackcaps, redwings or fieldfares this year, but the 3 listed are pretty good in my opinion!
As I get ready to go in for another operation to end the year I’ve been trying to do a small amount of birdwatching when I can, I finally managed to add Wren and Song Thrush to my garden bird list this year.
The last few days we’ve had a wren around a fair bit and then today the Song Thrush showed up, very very happy with this bird being in the garden as it was drinking from the pond and moving around under plants that I’ve been trying to grow to encourage wildlife. The pond has been a great success for wildlife and draining parts of the garden, very happy after the dramas of making the pond. I also hope that the pond has helped prevent lower ground being flooded!
Greenfinches are also becoming a more common in my garden. After 3 and a half years in this spot in Edinburgh from having a few woodpigeons and the very occasional blackbird we now have blue, coal and great tits every day, a roost of house sparrows which get up to 30 in the garden at one time and woodpeckers and greenfinches at least weekly. We are also attracting predatory birds, I’ve seen a sparrowhawk and a kestrel in the last week.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen either, as someone that regularly changes out feeders with clean ones; I have a numerous stock of feeders people have given me over the years so I change the ones in the garden at each fill, I have hoped to get flocks of healthy greenfinches in my garden, but sadly there’s not a lot of them around any more and to see one is a highlight of this winter… erm I mean summer (don’t think it got above 12C here in Edinburgh today!) then to get 2 bullfinches as well it was pretty special.
Blackbird x 1 male
Bullfinch x 2, m and f
Dunnock x 1
Great Tit x 1 looked to be a chick
Greenfinch x 1
House Sparrow x 20+ including chicks very happy with that
Jackdaw x 4
Woodpigeon x 2
For those wondering about my dystonia I’ve been trying new medicines and looking at trying to relax more while thinking of work problems I find watching birds a great help as well as newts in the pond, fern leaves swaying in the wind and occasionally getting a loupe viewer out to view mosses, or just enjoy the carpets of moss that this cold summer has started to form, I never appreciated how much moss was a calming influence and great for people with brain issues like mine, it slows the twitching down.
Sorry it’s been so long things have gotten really bad with my dystonia and my hands have stopped working a lot, now managed to get tennis elbow from the shakes, it’s meant after work I can no longer garden, very frustrating as the weeds are getting a bit much. But hey-ho on the plus side I sit a lot more in the garden as still as someone with a tremor can, which means more birds come out of the hedges and trees.
Lately we’ve been getting bullfinches they’ve even been using the pond to wash themselves, great to witness, the sparrows are back some with young I gather they must be a different group that were nesting elsewhere as 100% sure all the nests were abandoned when my neighbour cut the hedge back.
Love to be gardening but am taking to the smaller and macro worlds of mosses, ferns and terrariums things that I hope not to need to use my arms as much and not need to turn heavy amounts of clay. Enough about that and onto the birds!
Today we had a great spotted woodpecker been a while since I’ve seen one. After my last operation my wife would set up a video camera watching the feeders so that I could see the birds whilst laid up in bed and she managed to get good footage of one. very impressed!
Don’t forget springwatch is back as is unsprung. You can see the live cams through here: BBC Springwatch very helpful for people laid up in bed!