Scotland Garden Birdwatch 2024

In big news we’re currently looking at moving somewhere a bit more wild, a bit further out in the Lothian region of Scotland. Hopefully on a block of land big enough to attract even more birds, butterflies, bees, badgers, foxes and all the wonderful insects, worms, small mammals as well as having space to grow Feijoas which blackbirds and robins love the plants, Blackbirds are a great pollinator.

Looking back over the garden list, our first year we were lucky to get 10 birds of 5 or 6 species on a daily basis, now there’s at least 50 house sparrows daily and possibly as many 100 birds in the garden most of the time. Although the Chaffinch and Greenfinch sightings are less frequent. I hope to be able to do something similar on a larger scale and help more wildlife in the future.

Jan 1st: I am dealing with a lot of pain and haven’t been able to be outside as much, probably a lot more birds that I didn’t manage to see.

2024 Garden bird watch for Edinburgh, Scotland, list:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st – First bird of the year
  2. Blackcap – Jan 16th
  3. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  4. Bullfinch – Feb 8th
  5. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  6. Coal Tit – Jan 2nd
  7. Collared Dove – Jan 2nd
  8. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  9. Feral Pigeon – I prefer Street Pigeon – Jan 1st
  10. Fieldfare – Jan 2nd
  11. Great Tit – Jan 2nd
  12. Grey heron – Jan 16th – FO
  13. Herring Gull – Jan 16th
  14. House Sparrow – Jan 1st
  15. Jackdaw – Jan 1st
  16. Long-tailed Tit – Jan 8th
  17. Magpie – Jan 1st
  18. Robin – Jan 1st
  19. Rook – Feb 3rd
  20. Sparrowhawk – Jan 5th
  21. Starling – Jan 18th
  22. Stock Dove – Jan 1st
  23. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  24. Wren – Jan 23rd
  25. Yellowhamer – Jan 16th

2024 Garden Bird Watch Year Total:

  • 11 Species as of January 1st.
  • 15 Species as of January 2nd.
  • 16 Species as of January 5th.
  • 17 Species as of January 8th.
  • 21 Species as of January 16th.
  • 22 Species as of January 18th.
  • 23 Species as of January 23rd.
  • 24 Species as of February 3rd.
  • 25 Species as of February 8th.

Garden Bird behaviour

On 5th of January I was sitting on the couch when there was a sudden bang on the window, there were lots of kids playing around the street and I figured it’s just a stray ball or them throwing apples again, but no it was sadly a Fieldfare hitting the window. On further investigation I noticed a sparrowhawk sitting on one of the feijoa plants in the front garden. The moment it saw me it took off, I checked the fieldfare which was laying in the garden, sadly it was dead. I moved it to a spot where there’s a fox/badger desire line that way the death wouldn’t go to waste.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – sadly I thought I’d saved my list after submitting on the RSPB’s website, but I can’t find it. If I find it later in the year I will add it here.

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.

2021 Garden birds of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Welcome to 2021! After breaking my vertebrae and rupturing a few disks again in 2021 my list will once again be from my Edinburgh garden. The garden gets most of the common garden birds in Scotland and occasionally a great tick such as a Redpoll or a Redstart as in previous years. Winter brings in some fantastic birds to watch and listen to, such as Redwing and Fieldfare – just had both of these in the garden at 1pm on New Years day, didn’t see either in 2020.

This year I have started using Garden Birds* food due to the great price and excellent service, the most popular in my garden is the basic: Ultiva® Everyday Seed Mix*. It’s very popular with almost every bird that visits the garden especially the house sparrows.

I am struggling to stand on most days due to nerves in my back stopping my legs from working due to Generalised Dystonia and the broken vertebrae. It looks like it will be a small list this year.

*

2021 Edinburgh Garden Bird List:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st
  2. Black-headed Gull – July 21st – FO – Flying ant day.
  3. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  4. Bullfinch – Jan 9th
  5. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  6. Chiffchaff – July 14th
  7. Coal Tit – Jan 5th
  8. Collared Dove – Unsure on date, honestly thought I’d added it before.
  9. Common Buzzard – March 1st – FO
  10. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  11. Fieldfare – Jan 1st
  12. Garden Warbler – April 4th
  13. Goldfinch – June 30th
  14. Great Tit – Jan 2nd
  15. Greenfich – July 2nd
  16. Grey Heron – Jan 15th – FO
  17. House Sparrow – Jan 1st
  18. Jackdaw – Jan 22nd
  19. Long-tailed Tits – March 5th
  20. Magpie – Jan 1st
  21. Oystercatcher – June 22nd – FO
  22. Redwing – Jan 1st
  23. Robin – Jan 2nd
  24. Rook – Feb 11th – FO
  25. Siskin – April 19th
  26. Song Thrush – Feb 13th
  27. Sparrowhawk – Unsure on date, honestly thought I’d added it before.
  28. Starling – May 29th – FO
  29. Stock Dove – Jan 2nd
  30. Swift – May 29th – FO
  31. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st – First bird of the year
  32. Wren – Feb 14th
  • 9 Species as of January 1st.
  • 12 Species as of January 2nd.
  • 13 Species as of January 5th.
  • 14 Species as of January 9th.
  • 15 Species as of January 15th.
  • 16 Species as of January 22nd.
  • 17 Species as of February 11th.
  • 18 Species as of February 13th.
  • 19 Species as of February 14th.
  • 20 Species as of March 1st
  • 21 Species as of March 5th
  • 22 Species as of April 4th
  • 23 Species as of April 18th
  • 25 Species as of May 29th
  • 26 Species as of June 22nd
  • 27 Species as of June 30th
  • 28 Species as of July 2nd
  • 29 Species as of July 14th
  • 30 Species as of July 21st
  • 32 Species as of end of year.

2021 RSPB Garden Bird List:

  1. Blackbird – 3
  2. Blue Tit – 2
  3. Carrion Crow – 3
  4. Coal Tit – 1
  5. Dunnock – 4
  6. Fieldfare – 1
  7. House Sparrow – 50+
  8. Magpie – 3
  9. Robin – 1
  10. Woodpigeon – 3

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.

2017 Edinburgh Garden Bird List

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.

2017 Garden Bird List, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st
  2. Black-headed gull – Jan 1st
  3. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  4. Bullfinch – Jan 4th
  5. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  6. Chaffinch – July 25th
  7. Chiffchaff – August 13th
  8. Coal Tit – Jan 1st
  9. Collared Dove – Jan 13th
  10. Common Buzzard – Feb 19th
  11. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  12. Fieldfare – Dec 29th
  13. Goldcrest – Jan 7th
  14. Goldfinch – February 19th
  15. Great Tit – Jan 1st
  16. Greenfinch – Jan 1st
  17. Grey Heron – April 13th – FO
  18. House Sparrow – Jan 1st
  19. Jackdaw – Jan 3rd
  20. Kestrel – May 31st – FO – think this is the first I’ve seen over my garden.
  21. Long-tailed tit – October 14th
  22. Magpie – Jan 2nd
  23. Oystercatcher – July 13th – FO
  24. Redwing – Jan 30th
  25. Robin – Jan 1st
  26. Rook – March 23rd
  27. Siskin – April 28th
  28. Song Thrush – Jan 4th
  29. Sparrowhawk – Jan 7th
  30. Starling – Jan 1st
  31. Stock Dove – Jan 5th
  32. Swift – June 18th – 3 days later than last year, I haven’t seen a single swallow this year.
  33. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  34. 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.

  1. Blackbird x 4
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Dunnock x 3
  4. Great Tit x 2
  5. Greenfinch x 1
  6. House Sparrow x 3
  7. Magpie x 17
  8. Redwing x 1
  9. Robin x 2
  10. Woodpigeon x 2

Frost on the ground, count done between 10.20am and 11.20am.