Corona Wildlife Diary: Day Sixty-eight

24 May 2020 | Posted in Michael Blencowe
Corona Wildlife Diary: Day Sixty-eight

Day Sixty-eight

Although there were blue skies it was a bit of a blustery Bird Race today. Despite the cold breeze it was good to see so many people sporting their new Back Garden Bird Race t-shirts (available here).

Today was the eighth Back Garden Bird Race. I had also mentioned on the poster that it was Bob Dylan's 79th Birthday. This was going to be my excuse to write a number of thinly-veiled references to Bob Dylan song titles in this week's report. However, it turned out everyone else beat me to it - as you'll see in the comments below. 

Sue wrote "I will take part Just Like A Woman and hope A Simple Twist Of Fate gets me a new best"  before the start of the race, "But first I need One More Cup Of Coffee". Sue also noted that  "Judging from the forecast we aren’t in for a Hurricane". In his garden overlooking the Pett Levels, Cliff disagreed: "I can't believe all these people talking about "sunshine" & wearing t-shirts while over here in the Far East were Blowin' in the Wind without even the hope that A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall on the allotment," he said.

At this time of year there are plenty of sightings of new fledgling birds being fed and many people enjoyed their hour watching Coal Tits, Chaffinches, Blue Tits, and Robins feeding hungry chicks. Kim noted: 

"Still groups of fledgling Starlings hanging out. I'm sad that soon they won't scream so loud and won't seem so proud about having to scrounge their next meal."

Red Kite are still a feature on many people bird lists and it was good to see some new bird racers recording wandering kites for the first time over their gardens.

Mike photographed a trio of raptors over his garden in Herstmonceux.

Mullis trio

(Kestrel, Red Kite and Buzzard photographed during the Bird Race by Mike Mullis)

My 'Bird of the Race' arrived in the last 15 seconds when seven House Martins flew over - the first I have seen this year. Colin and Janet in Steyning (2.5 miles south of here) noted seven House Martins too, so I'm assuming we're sharing the same birds. Kevin and Alison also noted their first arriving House Martins in Horsham. These birds may have been delayed in their migration - although weather conditions have seemingly been good for northerly migrations. One thing's for sure...for a bird that needs wet mud to build its nest, House Martins will be struggling to find nest material in these dry conditions. I'll dedicate a blog to them next week. A big thank you to those seven House Martins.  If Not For You I would have ended up with my lowest score.

Collage 2

So, thank you to everyone who took part in this week's Back Garden Bird Race. Congratulations to everybody who achieved a new Personal Best score. Here are everyone's results from this week. Apologies as always for any errors or omissions.

Results 24May v2

This list shows all the birds reported from Sussex gardens this week, from most frequent (in red) to least frequent (in green) with a total count of 65 species. The Spotted Flycatcher which Evelyn recorded was a new bird for the Bird Race list this week.

Birds 24May

After Tony shared his spreadsheets with us last week it was interesting to see Andy's Venn Diagram this week.

Andy Dinsdale

I enjoy imagining the other Bird Racers out there each week so it's always nice to see photos of folks in their gardens. Here's Janet in her new t-shirt.

Janet Brown

...and Helen in the 'wild' corner of the garden inspired by me apparently.

Helen Burgess

This week Sue recruited her VW Campervan ('‘Stella’ the VDub') as her bird hide. 

Sue Camper van

I have to hand it to Sue. She managed to reference 22 Bob Dylan song titles in her Bird Race report. Here it is.

"I’m afraid that even my new (or rather ‘vintage’) bird hide and my spiffy BGBR T-shirt didn’t help me to beat my personal best but…I am going to go for the record for the most gratuitous uses of Bob Dylan song titles in a Back Garden Bird Race post (and I will be counting the 5 already used in previous comments for today).

Just before 10am today the coffee kicked in so I thought If You Gotta Go, Go Now. Not wanting to be caught short again and in order to maintain my Dignity the coffee had to go so I Threw It All Away not a drop was Saved.

I thought I heard a thrush but even though Man Gave Names To All The Animals and One Of Us Must Know sadly A Fool Such As I couldn’t be sure so I didn’t count it.

I did however hear pheasants next door in Maggie’s Farm. (Actually it is Barbara’s farm but that didn’t work.)

There was a point where there was nothing happening and I felt I was Stuck Inside Of Mobile (more properly a mobile home!) With The Memphis Blues Again.

Then there was a flurry of activity with lots of fledglings making a fuss and I thought well, It’s Not Dark Yet and I Feel A Change Comin’ On. I hoped that I could take it All The Way and wouldn’t end up as a Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands with fewer sightings than previous weeks. A number of young Blue Tits were sat in the tree above my ‘hide’ and kept pooping loudly on the roof, Unbelievable!

So we have finished again for another week and Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine).  Emotionally Yours…"


Thank you again to everyone who took part this week. Thank you to Lois Mayhew of Sussex Biodiversity Record Centre for her help with today's data.

We'll keep holding the Back Garden Bird Race while restrictions are in place. Until Things Have Changed we'll keep Pressing On.

Looks like it's going to be a hot week coming up. We'll be In the Garden for the Back Garden Bird Race again in Seven Days time (we'll keep it to Sunday unless the forecast is terrible)

I'll post an update on the Back Garden Bird Race website and Facebook page on Thursday.

Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday. 

Happy Birthday Bob.

Here's some Coronavirus advice, Bob style


  • Ginny-Vic:

    24 May 2020 18:37:00

    This is such a good Wildlife Trust because it really teaches you about wildlife and how to make the environment better for them. I absolutely love this blog and taking part. At the beginning I didn’t really know any birds, except maybe Robin. Now I see them everywhere. Maybe they always were there but I just didn’t notice them or maybe now I put food out they like coming to my garden? As no one can come round at the moment it is so nice that the starlings come for dinner and I look forward to seeing them. Hopefully I’ll know the names of a few more soon. Thank you Michael! Thank you Lois! 🙂

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