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 Ultivaยฎ Wheat Free Seed Mix* the basic: Ultivaยฎ 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

Edinburgh Garden Bird List for 2020

Hope everyone had a wildlife filled 2019 and are ready for hopefully a great 2020! As with 2019 – 34 species, 2018 – 36 species, 2017 – 34 species and before I am using RSPB Bird food in my garden. The 2 main seed mixes I use are Table mix bird seed and Feeder mix extra bird seed as well as a lot help from natural resources, more about wildlife gardening and the great increase in bird numbers below the 2020 list.

2020 Edinburgh Garden Bird List:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st
  2. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  3. Bullfinch – Feb 24th
  4. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  5. Coal Tit – Jan 1st
  6. Collared Dove – May 12th
  7. Common Buzzard – Apr 10th – FO
  8. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  9. Feral Pigeon – Jan 1st
  10. Goldcrest – 29th November
  11. Goldfinch – March 13th
  12. Great Tit – Jan 5th
  13. Grey Heron – Apr 10th – FO
  14. Herring Gull – Jan 1st – Flyover
  15. House Sparrow – Jan 1st
  16. Kestrel – May 18th
  17. Long-tailed Tit – Jan 31st
  18. Magpie – Jan 3rd
  19. Oystercatcher – Oct 11th – FO
  20. Redpoll^ – Dec 30th
  21. Rook – Sept 21st – FO
  22. Sparrowhawk – Jan 5th
  23. Starling – Feb 28th
  24. Stock Dove – June 16th
  25. Swallow – June 17th
  26. Swift – June 30th
  27. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  28. Willow Warbler – July 31st
  29. Wren – Jan 1st – First bird of the year, very excited!
  • 10 Species as of January 1st.
  • 11 Species as of January 3rd.
  • 13 Species as of January 5th.
  • 14 Species as of January 31st.
  • 15 Species as of February 24th
  • 16 Species as of February 28th
  • 17 Species as of March 13th
  • 19 Species as of April 10th
  • 20 Species as of May 12th
  • 21 Species as of May 18th
  • 22 Species as of June 16th
  • 23 Species as of June 17th
  • 24 Species as of June 30th
  • 25 Species as of July 31st
  • 26 Species as of September 21st
  • 27 Species as of October 11th
  • 28 Species as of November 29th
  • 29 Species as of December 30th

^Not sure on the species of Redpoll, they were feeding upside down on Silver Birch Betula Pendula, which is listed as an ID tip on: Lesser Redpoll Bird Facts | Carduelis Cabaret – The RSPB.

What a difference gardening for wildlife can make.

I put this list up with a few photos on Instagram you can see the post here: 3 foxes and a robin or you can see my Instagram account @ApteryxGav, to show how wildlife gardening can change what shows up in the garden.

Garden Bird List for October 22nd 2013:

Roughly 1 year 4 months after moving in:

  • 1. Blackbird x 2
  • 2. House Sparrow x 1
  • 3. Robin x 1
  • 4. Woodpigeon x 1

Total: 5 birds

Species: 4

After moving in I had noticed a few Robins that looked to have died from poisoning, possibly from the use of pesticides and herbicides by the previous owners.  I have a feeling their use was so high the amount had built up and in the few insects and worms left in the garden were full of pesticides, sadly the build up was too much for the birds that did try and feed in the garden.

Garden Bird List for October 22nd 2019:

Roughly 7 years 4 months after moving in:

  • 1. Blackbird x 1
  • 2. Blue Tit x 3
  • 3. Carrion Crow x 1
  • 4. Coal Tit x 2
  • 5. Dunnock x 3
  • 6. Great Tit x 1
  • 7. House Sparrows x 50+
  • 8. Jackdaw x 2
  • 9. Long-tailed Tit x 6
  • 10. Magpie x 3
  • 11. Robin x 3
  • 12. Woodpigeon x 3
  • 13. Wren x 1

Total: 80+ birds

Species: 13

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2020

  1. Blackbird x 11
  2. Blue tit x 2
  3. Carrion Crow x 1
  4. Coal tit x 2
  5. Dunnock x 3
  6. Great tit x 2
  7. House Sparrow 47 (probably more but best I could count)
  8. Robin x 3
  9. Woodpigeon x 3

Feijoa growing in UK

As everyone here knows I am an enthusiast of wildlife, gardening and photography, another big passion is feijoas and as I have a small amount of ground just near Edinburgh I decided to try and create the UKs first Feijoa farm, whilst helping wildlife.

Feijoas, if you’ve not come across feijoas they’re a plant from Brazil and the name is Portuguese and is pronounced Fee Joe Ah and not as many people say Fee Ho Ah. Feijoas are very popular in New Zealand (I’m a kiwi and why I go by the name Apteryx Gav online – the birders will probably know Apteryx is the Latin name for Kiwi) as well as growing interest in Australia.

The fruits and flowers both taste amazing and for the past 10 years I’ve been growing plants, cross pollinating the plants with the most flowers, largest and sweetest fruits and collecting seeds each year to try and create a plant that works well in the UK. It’s still early days and the fruit that was for sale on Feijoas.UK sold out in under a day. If you are interested keep an eye on the where to buy feijoas page to find out when they’re on sale.

What is with the * on certain links? This * means there’s an affiliate link where I get a small portion of any sales from the website. More about affiliate content and ethical online selling on the website Ethi.net – Ethical Affiliate Marketing. The website as of 24/01/2020 is currently a work in progress to try and give internet users clarity and more information about how the affiliate advertising market.

2019 Edinburgh, Scotland Garden Bird List

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 (started planning it in 2014!).

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.

Due to pain from Dystonia related injuries 2019 looks like it will be mainly garden only list.

2019 Edinburgh Garden Bird List

  1. Blackbird โ€“ Jan 1st โ€“ first bird of the year
  2. Blackcap – Dec 20th
  3. Blue Tit โ€“ Jan 1st
  4. Bullfinch – Feb 28th
  5. Carrion Crow โ€“ Jan 1st
  6. Chaffinch โ€“ Jan 4th
  7. Chiffchaff – Aug 9th
  8. Coal Tit – Jan 2nd
  9. Collared dove – May 16th
  10. Common Buzzards – Feb 21st – FO
  11. Dunnock โ€“ Jan 1st
  12. Feral Pigeon – Jan 5th
  13. Fieldfare – Jan 31st
  14. Goldfinch – April 12th
  15. Great Tit โ€“ Jan 4th
  16. Greenfinch – Jan 18th
  17. Grey Heron – Feb 11th – FO
  18. Herring Gull – May 12th
  19. House Sparrow  โ€“ Jan 1st
  20. Jackdaw – Jan 21st
  21. Long-tailed Tit โ€“ Jan 6th
  22. Magpie โ€“ Jan 1st
  23. Redpoll – Feb 16th – first time ever, around 50 of them.
  24. Redwing – Jan 23rd
  25. Robin โ€“ Jan 1st
  26. Rook – Sept 16th – FO
  27. Siskin – May 12th
  28. Song Thrush – Dec 9th
  29. Sparrowhawk โ€“ Jan 4th
  30. Starling – Feb 3rd
  31. Swallow – July 31st – FO
  32. Swift – June 27th – FO
  33. Woodpigeon โ€“ Jan 1st
  34. Wren โ€“ Jan 4th
  • 8 Species as of January 1st 2019.
  • 9 Species as of January 2nd 2019.
  • 13 Species as of January 4th 2019.
  • 14 Species as of January 5th 2019.
  • 15 Species as of January 6th 2019.
  • 16 Species as of January 18th 2019.
  • 17 Species as of January 21st 2019.
  • 18 Species as of January 23rd 2019.
  • 19 Species as of January 31st 2019.
  • 20 Species as of February 3rd 2019.
  • 21 Species as of February 11th 2019.
  • 22 Species as of February 16th 2019.
  • 23 Species as of February 21st 2019.
  • 24 Species as of February 28th 2019.
  • 25 Species as of April 12th 2019.
  • 27 Species as of May 12th 2019.
  • 28 Species as of May 16th 2019.
  • 29 Species as of June 27th 2019.
  • 30 Species as of July 31st 2019.
  • 31 Species as of August 9th 2019.
  • 32 Species as of September 16th 2019.
  • 33 Species as of December 9th 2019.
  • 34 Species as of December 20th 2019.

RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2019 results:

  1. Blackbird x 3
  2. Blue Tit x 3
  3. Coal tit x 1
  4. Collared Doves x
  5. Dunnock x 1
  6. Great tit x 1
  7. House Sparrow x 47
  8. Magpie x 2
  9. Robin x 1
  10. Woodpigeon x 7

Leith Meadow Pipits and Sand Martins.

Just wanted to mention 2 birds I’d never seen before, managed to see Meadow Pipit and Sand Martins on a walk between Ocean Terminal and Water of Leith just north of Edinburgh.


Someone or the council look to be planting a few of the grass verges with meadow seeds along the roads near Ocean Terminal and that’s where the meadow pipit was. The Sand Martins were flying over the water and the small meadows, I gather collecting insects which were in decent numbers for the very small bank of flowers.

2019 UK Feijoa Farm

This year I managed to start a very small UK Feijoa farm, as far as I know it’s the first of its kind in the UK. The plants have been very popular with birds especially, robins, dunnocks, blue, coal, great and long-tailed tits hopping through the plants.

Feijoas the tastiest fruit in the world.
If you are a fan of the feijoa fruit that have been described by Gardeners’ Question Time presenter Bob Flowerdew as “The tastiest fruit in the world” head over to Feijoas UK where you can buy feijoas when in season. They taste a lot better if you get them in season than the imported fruits. The imported fruits are picked too early so they don’t get damaged whilst being transported. When in season the feijoa fruit is amazing!

There are plans to increase the feijoa farm size and try and create a lot more wildlife friendly places as feijoas and wildlife are my passions.

Robin on Feijoa Branch
Robin on Feijoa Branch