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.

Festival of the Spoken Nerd, Garden Bird list & night time visitor.

This first entry was from last night on the way to an Edinburgh to see a Science Festival show – we went to see Festival of the Spoken Nerd and on the way there I spotted a common buzzard just near Murrayfield Stadium.  The show was excellent full of fun science ideas and a good amount of comedy.

  1. Common Buzzard – seen on side of road.

Today wasn’t a great day for birdwatching instead a lot more DIY and when not doing that trying to stay off my feet as my ankle tendons are popping out a little too often, all very frustrating!  On arriving home last night I took chewie out for a final visit to the garden and heard the wonderful call of a tawny owl.  Here’s my garden bird list for today:


  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Carrion crow x 2 flying over
  4. Coal Tit x 1
  5. Dunnock x 3
  6. Long-tailed tit x 2 – they were around almost every time I was outside today.
  7. Magpie x 2
  8. Tawny Owl x 1 -heard only
  9. Woodpigeon x 4

Another new bird for the year, Song Thrush & Tawny Owl is back.

Sadly when moving the website to a new server I lost a lot of internal links, sorry that the links on here do not work.

My bird list isn’t as exciting as Wes’s (A good day at Rainham Marshes) but I have a new one for this years bird list and the Tawny Owl was back last night, there was also a Song Thrush in the front garden today, very happy with that!  There were roughly 20 geese flying east to west over the Pentland hills – photo of Pentland Hills, south of Edinburgh today, strangely they were flying in one straight line and not the that we’re all so familiar with, wasn’t sure what species of geese they were so haven’t added them to my list.

As well as the Dunnocks – Dunnocks showing mating behaviour, my garden bird list. – showing mating behaviour the other day, the two woodpigeons I saw today were also getting ready to nest, it has been a very mild winter here in Edinburgh.  Here’s my garden bird list that I saw today:

  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Chaffinch x 3
  4. Coal Tit x 2
  5. Dunnock x 1
  6. House Sparrow x 3
  7. Magpie x 1
  8. Song Thrush x 1
  9. Tawny Owl x 1 – heard only
  10. Woodpigeon x 2

This list below is from Wes, you can see his latest updates on: https://twitter.com/WesDonze

A good day at Rainham Marshes

Visited the RSPB site at Rainham Marshes today and had a good visit there for about 3 hours – 42 species in total

So here is the list in order seen

Magpie, Collared Dove, House Sparrow, Robin, Dunnock, Lapwing, Blackbird, Coot, Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Starling, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Shoveler, Dunlin, Reed Bunting, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Marsh Harrier, Herring Gull, Golden Plover, Canada Goose, Little Grebe ( heard only), Cormorant, Pachard, Cetti’s Warbler, Stonechat, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit,Blue Tit, Common Pheasant, Black Headed Gull,Lesser Black Backed Gull, Redshank, Greenfinch, Wood Pigeon


Best ever view of Cetti’s Warbler – previously only had fleeting glimpses but today the one i saw was showing well

Heard a Tawny Owl & saw very few other birds!

It was another very quiet day in the garden today, a few carrion crows flying overhead and the tawny owl was out and about last night but very little else so I’ve added some photos from the balcony of my old flat in Sydney Australia:

  1. Blackbird x 1
  2. Carrion crow x 4 – flyovers
  3. Coal Tit x 1
  4. Dunnock x 2
  5. Tawny Owl x 1 – heard only
Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet at the flat in Sydney.

Rainbow Lorikeet takes a bath

Rainbow Lorikeet takes a bath

Rainbow Lorikeet shakes after a bath.

Rainbow Lorikeet shakes after a bath.

Our flock of Rainbow Lorikeets

Our flock of Rainbow Lorikeets

Grey Heron and Tawny Owl show up on my list for first time this year.

Just after midnight last night I heard a Tawny Owl, first I’ve heard since moving into my new place a bit further down Corstorphine Hill than I used to live, a bit of a surprise as there’s a lot less trees around here.  Thanks to Edinburgh Hawkwatch for their page on – Tawny Owl – Edinburgh for a little more detail about Tawny Owls in the area.  Whilst watching the Rugby I noticed a very large bird arrive on the horizon I thought that’s too big to be a gull it has to be something else, it continued to fly straight towards me and it was a heron, another first for the year, here’s the garden bird list I’ve seen today:

  1. Blackbird x 3
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Chaffinch x 4
  4. Coal Tit x 1
  5. Grey Heron x 1 – fly over
  6. House Sparrow x 6
  7. Tawny Owl x 1 – heard only
  8. Woodpigeon x 1
  9. Wren x 1