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. Bullfinch – Feb 24th
  5. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  6. Chaffinch – Jan 1st
  7. Chiffchaff – March 26th
  8. Coal Tit – Jan 1st
  9. Collared Dove – Jan 1st
  10. Common Buzzard – Jan 2nd – FO
  11. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  12. Feral Pigeon – I prefer Street Pigeon – Jan 1st
  13. Fieldfare – Jan 16th – snow on ground, flock of 50+
  14. Great Tit – Jan 1st
  15. Greenfinch – August 6th
  16. Goldcrest – March 26th
  17. Goldfinch – April 30th – the Goldfinch love the Dandelion seeds as do the sparrows. More on plants for Birds, Bees and Butterflies on here: Plants for attracting wildlife.
  18. Herring Gull – Jan 5th
  19. House Sparrow – Jan 1st – First Bird of the Year.
  20. Jackdaw – Jan 1st
  21. Kestrel – Feb 9th
  22. Lesser Redpolls – Jan 1st
  23. Long-tailed Tit – Jan 2nd
  24. Magpie – Jan 1st
  25. Mute Swan – Oct 14th – FO
  26. Robin – Jan 1st
  27. Song Thrush – Nov 25th
  28. Sparrowhawk – Jan 11th
  29. Starling – Jan 1st
  30. Stock Dove – Jan 1st
  31. Swift – July 7th
  32. Tawny Owl – Feb 11th
  33. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  34. Wren – Jan 1st
  35. Yellowhammer – Jan 1st – left end of January and started coming back 26/11/2023.

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.
  • 26 Species as of February 9th.
  • 27 Species as of February 11th.
  • 28 Species as of February 24th.
  • 30 Species as of March 26th.
  • 31 Species as of April 30th.
  • 32 Species as of July 7th.
  • 33 Species as of August 6th.
  • 34 Species as of October 14th.
  • 35 Species as of November 25th.

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

Wildfowl & Wetland Trust London Wetland Centre Bird list for 22nd of May 2013.

I was hoping to have this list up a lot earlier today as it’s from 22nd of May however I was so busy doing the http://www.saverscene.com.au/finance/  (now closed as I move into gardening as a profession) updates for Australian best savings, credit cards and due to the fact many Aussies have to pay for bank accounts the best free bank account offers it took longer than expected as their saving interest rates are going the same way as the UK ones.

Now to birds thanks to the suggestion of Wes and the ease of getting to the WWT – Wildfowl & Wetland Trust in London Wetland Centre – see their twitter account here:  @WWTLondon I managed my best bird list for the UK this year, sadly I didn’t have my camera and my legs didn’t hold out for a long time, it was still great getting 28 different species at the WWT London and finishing it off with a kestrel at Luton airport for the longest list of the year so far!

2 new birds were on my list for life, and they were both cracking views, there was a pair of reed warblers nesting almost directly outside the Observatory which gave amazing views, they came right up to the reeds in front of the windows.  The other new bird was the Little Greeb I had amazing views of it feeding in clear water under the bridge just before you get to the Wildside hide,  Fantastic to see!

The bird list for May 22nd from WWT London Wetland Centre:

  1. Feral Pigeon
  2. Reed Warbler
  3. Mallard Duck – with young
  4. Moorhen
  5. Coot – with chicks
  6. Woodpigeon
  7. Starlings
  8. Carrion Crow
  9. Jackdaw
  10. Egyptian Geese
  11. Mute Swans
  12. Cormorant
  13. Grey Heron
  14. Blackbird
  15. Pied Wagtail
  16. Common Tern – new for the year
  17. Tufted Duck
  18. Lapwing
  19. Swallows
  20. Magpie
  21. Robin
  22. Black-headed Gull
  23. Great Tit
  24. Little Grebe
  25. Canada Geese – new for the year
  26. House Martin – new for the year
  27. Swift – new for the year
  28. Greylag Geese

1 more bird seen at Luton airport, hovering over the grass:

  1. Kestrel

Fantastic day of birding, can’t wait until I can walk for longer times and see more, I would often get 40 to 50 species at Musselburgh east of Edinburgh.

Whilst looking for bird sightings as I’d thought I’d seen something that I’m used to up in Scotland but wasn’t sure, I came across this Open University site: http://www.ispot.org.uk/ fantastic service and great for finding if a bird has been seen in the area!

 

Below are comments that got lost when the website went down. 

2 responses to Wildfowl & Wetland Trust London Wetland Centre Bird list for 22nd of May 2013.

  1. Wes Donze said on May 24, 2013

    Excellent list – glad you managed to get there and have some good sightings including the 2 new ones for you

    • KiwiGav said on May 25, 2013

      Wes, I really appreciate the suggestion, was great, wish I could have made it to a few more of the areas, next time! I’m sure my feet have to get better soon, looking at two more operations, hopefully after that I’ll be out and seeing loads of birds.

      The ridiculous thing is Little Grebe is so easy to see around my area in Lothians, if you go to the right place, I’ve just not been able to drive so haven’t got there yet. Going to try and get a lift from a fellow birder and watch them more intensely, the view through the water was great, but after that it was gone.

      sorry if I’m rambling a bit just back from a wedding at Edinburgh Zoo, great fun!

Another great day out at Keukenhof gardens, decent bird list.

Even though I was out doing my real work, photography, I managed to update the savings, ISAs and credit cards over on www.saverscene.co.uk (now closed as I move into gardening as a profession) then a few of the banks went and changed their rates and I had to do it again tonight!!!  How inconsiderate of them!  I did get out to Keukenhof today and got to see some great birds as well as a few 100 very nice flower photos.  I sadly missed by just a few minutes the mating dance of the Great Crested Grebe, a few other birders seemed to take real pleasure in telling me!  I didn’t see as many bird species today as I did the other day, here’s my list today:

  1. Blackbird
  2. Carrion crow
  3. Chaffinch
  4. Chiffchaff
  5. Coots
  6. Egyptian Goose
  7. Great crested grebe
  8. Great tits
  9. Greylag goose
  10. Grey Heron
  11. House Sparrow
  12. Jackdaw
  13. Lapwings
  14. Long-tailed tits
  15. Magpie
  16. Mallard Duck
  17. Moorhens
  18. Mute Swans
  19. Oystercatcher
  20. Pied Wagtail
  21. Starlings
  22. Tufted duck
  23. Woodpigeons

The Comments that were below this post before the server move:

  1. Wes Donze said on April 24, 2013

    thats a good list – hope to see something similar this weekend as i am heading there myself – also heading to a spot where there should be a number of birds near where i am staying in Weesp.

    Apologies for not yet posting my bird list from Sweden – i seem to have been so busy this last week or so – am taking the laptop this weekend so might get a chance when i am in Holland

    I have seen the mating dance of the Grebes twice before – once in Holland too – and just caught the very end of it in Sweden a few days ago

    • KiwiGav said on April 24, 2013

      Weesp does look like a great place for seeing birds! Lots of water around there. I hope you had a great time in Sweden and have a wonderful time in Holland. I’d never seen a Grebe before, so was very happy to see them, when at Keukenhof they’re just round from the Wilhelmina pavilion, after the bridge near the white horse statue, where the river bows a bit, Keukenhof map here:
      http://www.keukenhof.nl/uploads/2013/Plattegrond/2223_kh_plattegrond_2013_v6_lr_def.pdf

      You’ll be going at a great time, the flowers are a lot later this year, a lot still weren’t out when I was were there! First time I’d been back in 10 years, last time I was 23 and with a heap of Aussie backpackers, good fun, but probably didn’t take as much in as I could have.

      Totally understand being busy! If I didn’t have to take every second day out for putting my feet up I’d probably not have been able to do updates, but I would have got out a bit more to see the birds. I’ve just gone back to bed at 10.20 am to write this! Feels odd and terrible to be spending so much time off my feet!

      I’ll try and get a few photos up before you go, ran out of room on my computer, but will move things about tonight.

  2. Wes Donze said on May 2, 2013

    Yes I saw the Great Crested Grebe on a nest there. As you say the flowers are later this year – 1 to 2 weeks i’d say – also the birds – I have seen a Grebe with young there, also Mallard and Mute Swan with young but they were all late this year

    KiwiGav said on May 2, 2013

    Glad to hear you got to see a good range there. I really have to sort my photos out, I just don’t have any room on my computer, it’s ridiculous! My photography computer is still packed in storage.

Keukenhof gardens and the birds I spotted there.

Had a bumper day today and added a few life birds, Great Crested Grebe (bit slow on that one!), yellow and pied wagtails.  Once again internet has been down most of the evening so just a quick note of the birds in the hope the net stays up long enough.  Most from Keukenhof or on bus journey there.

  1. Blackbird
  2. Blackcap
  3. Carrion crow
  4. Chiffchaff – heard and seen
  5. Common Buzzard
  6. Coots
  7. Dunnock
  8. Feral Pigeon
  9. Great crested grebe
  10. Greylag goose
  11. Grey Heron
  12. House Sparrow
  13. Jackdaw
  14. Morehen
  15. Oystercatchers
  16. Pied Wagtail
  17. Lapwings
  18. Magpie
  19. Mallard Duck
  20. Moorhens
  21. Mute Swans
  22. Skylark – seen and heard
  23. Sparrowhawk
  24. Starlings
  25. Swallow
  26. Tufted duck
  27. Yellow wagtail

The Keukenhof gardens are great, but don’t go on parade day, it’s so busy!  I was hoping to go to Haarlem to see the parade at the end of the day but my ankles were worn out again and I couldn’t face another bus ride.  Hopefully one year I’ll get back over here to see the festival!  I also managed to update the best interest rates for instant access ISAs tonight as I was informed Coventry have changed their best interest rate to a 1 year and no longer instant access, you can see the best instant access ISA here: http://www.saverscene.co.uk/isa/highest-interest-rate-for-instant-access-isa.html (now closed as I move into gardening as a profession) – Gardening, birds, saving money and pensions my friends call me middle aged Gav, I’m 34, I sure hope to live to over 68!!!  I’ve been interested in most of these things since my teen years, just I lived in Australia and haven’t seen a lot of European birds and there wasn’t wonderful tax free savings accounts like ISAs there!  Sorry rambling again, had pain killers and beer!  whoops!  – Gav out!

Update, thought I’d list this as a friend asked me what a lapwing looked like, there’s photos on here from when I lived at Musselburgh

A day in Amsterdam, a few birds.

After saying how great it was to have free internet the hotel’s internet has been down all evening this will just be a quick one, with my bird list, pretty short today:

  1. Coot
  2. Cormorant*
  3. Greylag geese
  4. Jackdaw
  5. Magpie
  6. Mallard Duck
  7. Mute Swan

* new for this year

I’ll hopefully be back out at the gardens for the tulip festivals tomorrow, my ankles couldn’t handle the pace of the city and getting bumped a lot at the central train station, I’ve decided to try and get more good photos from the tulip gardens.

Hope others are getting to see a lot of great birds!