Corona Wildlife Diary: Day Sixty-one

17 May 2020 | Posted in Michael Blencowe
Corona Wildlife Diary: Day Sixty-one

Day Sixty-one

Thank you to everyone who took part in today's Back garden Bird Race.

My t-shirt arrived just in time - which I took as a good omen. (get yours here!). 


Although it didn't bring me the good luck I had hope for. I'm still trying to get 30 birds on my Bird Race list (27 is my personal best) but it seems the birds haven't quite got the hang of it. Sure, there were certainly lots more actual birds in the garden today - but I'm looking for more species.

I'm not complaining,  the highlight for me today was a low-flying Hobby which came barrelling through the cul-de-sac. I know a good story about the Hobby - I'll save it for a blog later in the week. Jess and Tom in Hove were just as excited to see a Sparrowhawk. The first Bird of Prey they have seen from their flat during a Bird Race

Things certainly seemed different today.  After the cautious lifting of restrictions there was constant noise from the nearby road as well as light aircraft overhead. It really highlighted how quiet it has been during the past 6 bird races. The worst thing was the endless motorbikes, it was like Brands Hatch 'round here. "Welcome back to the World of Noise" said Cliff  "And welcome to the raucous world of baby Starlings".

There was no ignoring the Starlings today. The young have just fledged and are taking their first flights - so there's more of them about. But they are so NOISY, especially the young who are still begging to be fed. "Nice to hear fledgling starlings. It's one of my favourite sounds of the year" said Kim.

Starling 1

Young Starlings and parent.  Photo: Sarah Bonnôt-Tijhaar

Elsewhere there were other young birds out of the nest and being fed. In Steyning Colin and Janet watched juvenile Dunnock, House Sparrow, & Robin being fed by parents in their garden and in Walberton Goldfinches were feeding young too. Sue spotted a "newly fledged Great Tit making a very loud and flappy plea for dried mealworms!" Ryan watched some lovely Blackbird fledglings hopping around the pond. "They appear very confused as to what’s edible and what’s not!"

BB Ryan

Young Blackbird. Photo: Ryan Greaves


Young Robin Photo: Sarah Bonnôt-Tijhaar

There were other youngsters spotted in the garden too.

Rachel reported that her six year old son took part and beat his Personal Best score with 16...including his first ever Swifts and Greenfinches. Reuben ordered a Bird Race t-shirt and it bought him good luck and a new Personal Best score - well done! Clare's daughter Erin noticed the Blue Tits kept going to the same spot on the Apple tree "and when we looked there are three little chicks tucked in right at the bottom of a crack in the branch. She's delighted."

Collage 2

(Photos: Helen Burgess, Cliff Dean, Tristan Port, David Roger Jane Willmott, Rosemary Duffin, Tirzah Bottomly, Andy Dinsdale)

There were a few mystery sounds too. After last week's race a few people commented that the bird David and Sarah heard which 'sounded like someone saying 'Potato' in an Irish accent' could well have been a Collared Dove. Things went the other way this week when Kim reported that he heard a neighbour who 'had a voice which sounded like a Woodpigeon'.

Georgie said she "thought I heard a neighbour cleaning their windows, that squeaky noise" but it turned out to be "four Mute Swans flying overhead". 

Collage 1

(Photos Kevin Lerwill, Jessanny Mayhew, Lois Mayhew, Simon Lininigton, Sue Curnock, Shlomit Worsfold, Steve Funnell)

So here are everyone's results from this week's bird race. Apologies as always for any errors or omissions.

Scores 17May

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 71 species.

Birdlist 17May

Tony Cook has put together his own table (below) of the most frequent / least frequent birds he has seen in his own garden over the past seven Bird Races. These weekly events have certainly given everyone the opportunity to learn more about what's going on in their own back yards. I was so interested in Tony's table that I forgot to put his score up on the scoreboard today. Sorry Tony! (He got 13).

Tony's Table

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.

Looks like it's another sunny week coming up. We'll hold the Back Garden Bird Race again next weekend (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.


  • Ginny-Vic:

    17 May 2020 17:34:00

    Ahh so fantastic to hear so many young bird spotters taking part! Well done everyone! The t-shirts look awesome too! I finally picked one and it’s in the post. Hope lots of trees get planted in Madagascar!

  • Clifford Dean:

    18 May 2020 04:55:00

    Who’d have thought, a few years ago, that Red Kite would be recorded much more widely than Linnet?

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