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 โ€“ Jan 1st – First bird of the year
  2. Blackcap – Jan 16th
  3. Blue Tit โ€“ Jan 1st
  4. Bullfinch – Feb 8th
  5. Carrion Crow โ€“ Jan 1st
  6. Coal Tit โ€“ Jan 2nd
  7. Collared Dove – Jan 2nd
  8. Dunnock โ€“ Jan 1st
  9. Feral Pigeon โ€“ I prefer Street Pigeon โ€“ Jan 1st
  10. Fieldfare โ€“ Jan 2nd
  11. Great Tit โ€“ Jan 2nd
  12. Grey heron – Jan 16th – FO
  13. Herring Gull – Jan 16th
  14. House Sparrow โ€“ Jan 1st
  15. Jackdaw โ€“ Jan 1st
  16. Long-tailed Tit – Jan 8th
  17. Magpie โ€“ Jan 1st
  18. Robin โ€“ Jan 1st
  19. Rook – Feb 3rd
  20. Siskin – April 5th
  21. Sparrowhawk – Jan 5th
  22. Starling – Jan 18th
  23. Stock Dove โ€“ Jan 1st
  24. Woodpigeon โ€“ Jan 1st
  25. Wren – Jan 23rd
  26. 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.
  • 26 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.

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