Edinburgh Garden Birdwatch 2023

Like the last few years, I’m pretty much stuck at home. Thankfully the Edinburgh Garden is getting better and better for watching birds, as I plant more and more wildlife friendly plants and gardening organically the soil has started to come to life after 40+ years of the previous owner using weedkillers and pesticides. As the garden gets more wildlife friendly, many birds are visiting, which now include a flock of Yellowhammers almost daily and Lesser Redpolls being at least weekly on top of the 50+ house sparrows that live in the garden.

01/01/2023 – Today has been one of the best starts of the year to the garden bird watch with 20 species. I did miss a few Gulls that were Fly Overs (FO) hopefully spot them in the near future.

2023 Garden bird watch for Edinburgh, Scotland, list:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st
  2. Blackcap – Jan 1st
  3. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  4. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  5. Chaffinch – Jan 1st
  6. Coal Tit – Jan 1st
  7. Collared Dove – Jan 1st
  8. Common Buzzard – Jan 2nd – FO
  9. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  10. Feral Pigeon – I prefer Street Pigeon – Jan 1st
  11. Fieldfare – Jan 16th – snow on ground, flock of 50+
  12. Great Tit – Jan 1st
  13. Herring Gull – Jan 5th
  14. House Sparrow – Jan 1st – First Bird of the Year.
  15. Jackdaw – Jan 1st
  16. Lesser Redpolls – Jan 1st
  17. Long-tailed Tit
  18. Magpie – Jan 1st
  19. Robin – Jan 1st
  20. Sparrowhawk – Jan 11th
  21. Starling – Jan 1st
  22. Stock Dove – Jan 1st
  23. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  24. Wren – Jan 1st
  25. Yellowhammer – Jan 1st

2023 Garden Bird Watch Year Total:

  • 20 Species as of January 1st.
  • 22 Species as of January 2nd.
  • 23 Species as of January 5th.
  • 24 Species as of January 11th.
  • 25 Species as of January 16th.

Yellowhammer in Edinburgh Garden:

Since mid December 2022 the Yellowhammers have been a daily visitor, what’s the bet they don’t show during the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch? They started out with 5 on the 18/12/22 and now have spotted as many as 8 Yellowhammers at one time. One of the better photos I’ve managed to capture so far:

Photo of a male Yellowhammer on a Viburnum x Bodnantense "Dawn".
Male Yellowhammer in the garden.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2023:

As with every year I look forward to doing the big garden birdwatch. This year it runs from 27th to 29th of January, find out more on: Big Garden Birdwatch | The RSPB.

See the 2022 list here: 2022 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 results:

Between the hours of 11.30 and 13.00 on Saturday 28th of January 2023, the reason the count is listed over a period of 90 minutes: I did 30 minutes out the kitchen window, then went and sat at the back of the garden for 30 minutes to let the birds settle and then started counting again for another 30 minutes to total 1 hour of counting time.

  1. Blackbird – 5
  2. Blackcap – 1
  3. Blue Tit – 2
  4. Carrion Crow – 5
  5. Coal Tit – 2
  6. Collared Dove – 1
  7. Dunnock – 1
  8. Feral Pigeon – 2
  9. Great Tit – 1
  10. Herring Gull – 1
  11. House Sparrow – 50+ (couldn’t get an accurate count)
  12. Jackdaw – 5
  13. Magpie – 7
  14. Robin – 3
  15. Stock Dove – 4
  16. Woodpigeon – 3
  17. Wren – 1
  18. Yellowhammer – 30

What a day! Total of 18 species and 120 birds, the most Yellowhammers I’ve seen in the garden, often getting 20+ most days now.

2022 Garden birds of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Welcome to 2022! Hopefully this year will be a great year for birds! Once again injury and recovery from operations including an operation of the heart are taking their toll.

The House Sparrows have really taken up home in the garden, as the garden is transformed from a place where pesticides and weed killers were used for 40+ years into an organic garden and hopefully wildlife wonderland, the number of insects and soil life has increased dramatically. I have been removing the showy plants that had no wildlife value and replacing with plants that benefit bees, butterflies and birds. There’s a list of plants I have put together over here: Plants to help bees, butterflies and birds.

Once again I am using Garden Birds* food due to the great price and excellent service, the most popular in my garden is now the Ultiva® Wheat Free Seed Mix* the basic: Ultiva® Everyday Seed Mix* is also popular with almost every bird that visits the garden especially the house sparrows.

Photo of a Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) on the back fence in Edinburgh garden.
Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) on the back fence.

*

2022 Edinburgh Garden Bird List:

  1. Black-headed gull – July 10th – FO
  2. Blackbird – Jan 1st
  3. Blackcap – Jan 7th
  4. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  5. Bullfinch – May 5th
  6. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  7. Chaffinch – Jan 4th
  8. Chiffchaff – March 3rd – in the wildlife hedge.
  9. Coal Tit – Jan 1st
  10. Collared Dove – Jan 1st
  11. Common Buzzard – Jan 11th – FO
  12. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  13. Feral Pigeon
  14. Fieldfare – November 12th – FO – landed Dec 11th
  15. Goldcrest – Jan 22nd
  16. Goldfinch – April 21st
  17. Great black-backed gull – July 10th
  18. Great Tit – Jan 1st
  19. Grey Herron – April 8th
  20. Herring Gull – Jan 9th
  21. House Sparrow – Jan 1st – First Bird of the Year.
  22. Jackdaw – Jan 1st
  23. Lesser black-backed gull – July 10th
  24. Lesser Redpolls – December 23rd
  25. Long-tailed Tit – Jan 9th
  26. Magpie – Jan 1st
  27. Mute Swan – November 21st – FO
  28. Oystercatcher – May 12th – Heard at night – FO
  29. Red Kite – July 10 – FO* – first time I’ve seen one, not common in Lothian region.
  30. Redwing – December 22nd.
  31. Robin – Jan 1st
  32. Siskin – May 6th
  33. Sparrowhawk – Jan 4th
  34. Starling – April 14th
  35. Swift – May 13th – FO
  36. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  37. Wren – Jan 1st
  38. Yellowhammer – Feb 24th – This is the first Yellowhammer I’ve ever spotted in the garden; it was along the region we planted up called “the wildlife hedge”. December 18th – Also had a flock of yellowhammer in the garden, the weather has been bad, and they must have been able to find food in the garden easier.

* the Red Kite was flying amongst 100s of gulls and swifts as it was an ant day. I was shocked to see it and will admit, let out a yell “KITE” and pointed, such a stunning bird. A few friends have told me they are quite rare around Edinburgh and the Lothians. Sadly the sighting was short and didn’t have a chance to grab a camera.
The Black-headed gulls never seem to land but the Lesser black-backed gull, Great black-backed gulls and herring gulls are regular visitors. The Lesser black-backed gulls are the most common in the garden and we have named one Steven Seagull.

2022 Year total:

  • 13 Species as of January 1st.
  • 15 Species as of January 4th.
  • 16 Species as of January 7th.
  • 18 Species as of January 9th.
  • 19 Species as of January 11th.
  • 20 Species as of January 22nd.
  • 21 Species as of January 30th.
  • 22 Species as of February 24th
  • 23 Species as of March 3rd
  • 24 Species as of April 8th
  • 25 Species as of April 14th
  • 26 Species as of April 21st
  • 27 Species as of May 5th
  • 28 Species as of May 6th
  • 29 Species as of May 12th
  • 30 Species as of May 13th
  • 34 Species as of July 10th
  • 35 Species as of November 12th
  • 36 Species as of November 20th
  • 37 Species as of December 22nd
  • 38 Species as of December 23rd

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

  1. Blackbird – 7
  2. Blackcap – 2
  3. Blue Tit – 5 – Some were testing out nest boxes!
  4. Carrion Crow – 3
  5. Dunnock – 2
  6. House Sparrow – 50+
  7. Jackdaw – 20
  8. Long-tailed Tit – 1 – Oddly normally flocks of 5+
  9. Robin – 2
  10. Sparrowhawk – 1

Oddly missing common birds

  1. Coal Tit
  2. Collared Dove
  3. Great Tit
  4. Magpie
  5. Woodpigeon