'Recent Sightings' from 29th to 31st January

Wow, what a fabulous weekend for birdwatching, this year's Big Garden Birdwatch has been a real success. Lockdown restrictions have meant many of us spending more time than ever in or looking at our gardens. More people are turning to garden birdwatching and this connection with nature can only be a good thing. The submissions are still coming in but 2021 could be one of the biggest year yet for the BGBW.

While we are unable to keep up the usual 'Recent Sightings' blogs at the moment, we thought we could use the Newport Wetlands team's #BGBW sightings instead. We have pooled together the sightings from 12 members of the team and it's nice to see how many birds are using our gardens for regular feeding stops. In total 448 birds were sighted and 31 different species.

Newport Wetlands team #BGBW Top 10

  1. Starling
  2. House Sparrow
  3. Blackbird
  4. Blue tit
  5. Goldfinch
  6. Woodpigeon
  7. Collard Dove
  8. Magpie
  9. Robin
  10. Great tit

Graph showing all birds seen in last weekend in our #BigGardenBirdWatch

This year's results are still being complied but how did our 2021 #BGBW compare to the main event last year?

Team Newport Wetlands #BGBW 2021                      The UK #BGBW 2020

1.    Starling                                                                                                                                1.     House sparrow

2.    House sparrow                                                                                                                    2.     Starling

3.    Blackbird                                                                                                                             3.     Blue tit

4.    Blue tit                                                                                                                                 4.     Woodpigeon

5.    Goldfinch                                                                                                                             5.     Blackbird

6.    Woodpigeon                                                                                                                        6.     Goldfinch

7.    Collard dove                                                                                                                        7.     Great tit

8.    Magpie                                                                                                                                 8.     Robin

9.    Robin                                                                                                                                   9.     Long-tailed tit

10.   Great tit                                                                                                                               10.   Magpie

Photo: Goldfinches galore!  Steve Jones

Photo: Feasting on fat balls, a Great spotted woodpecker (Jeremy White)

Photo: Garden favourite, a male Blackbird (Steve Jones)

What did we see?

The team's #Watches were spread evenly over Saturday and Sunday and divided equally between morning and afternoon. You may remember the weather took a decidedly cold turn on Sunday morning with significant snowfall for most of us. Interestingly this had mixed effects on the birds with some gardens becoming very quiet while others had a burst of activity with the birds opting for a last minute energy boost before the cold spell hit.

 Starlings were out in front with 63 birds sighted and their closest rival the House sparrow holding tight in second place with 55 birds sighted. This is a reversal to the standings of the last few years in the national results where House sparrows have led Starlings. It may be that 40 starlings making an appearance in just one of our gardens tipped the balance in favour of the starlings. 

 A few of us had notable absences on the day in the form of Long-tailed tits and Great spotted woodpeckers, which is possibly why the Long-tailed tits in particular haven't featured in our Top 10. One lucky member had a fabulous Sparrowhawk making an appearance (fortunately or not) without significant impact on the other birds.

Left photo: Starlings snow shelter (Aileen Wallen)

Right photo: It's all about the eyes...female Sparrowhawk (Aileen Wallen)

It was nice to see some more unusual garden birds featuring, with single sightings of a Treecreeper, Blackcap and a fabulous Mistle thrush. It was somewhat sad, and a sign of their decline in recent years, that there were only 2 Song thrushes spotted. There was only one sighting of another the once familiar garden bird, the Greenfinch. Greenfinches had suffered dramatically from the disease Trichomonas. The disease can spread rapidly where high numbers of birds congregate so if you do feed the birds it is really important to regularly clean your feeders too.

Adding a touch of colour we also had Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Siskin.

Photo: Green and Gold... colourful finches (Steve Jones)

Thank you to everyone who joined in the #BigGardenBirdWatch this year, you have contributed to the world's largest wildlife survey!  We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. If you haven't submitted your results yet you have until 19th February (online) 15th February (post) and look out for the results' big reveal sometime soon after that. 

Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue tit, Bullfinch, Carrion crow, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Collard dove, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Greenfinch, Herring gull, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Lesser black-backed gull, Long-tailed tit, Magpie, Mistle thrush, Nuthatch, Redwing, Robin, Siskin, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Treecreeper, Wood pigeon, Wren