Happy New Year

Get ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch 26-28 January

Waxwing on the Busway near OP, perhaps they’ll come into OP to feed this year

New year, new resolutions? Why not make 2019 the year you make an effort to connect with the nature on your doorstep?

A great way to begin is by taking an interest in our local birds. All of these species have been recorded in OP:

  • Blackbird
  • Blackcap 
  • Blue Tit
  • Collared Dove
  • Chaffinch
  • Carrion Crow
  • Dunnock
  • European Jay
  • Feral Pigeon
  • Goldfinch
  • Greenfinch
  • Great Spotted Woodpecker
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Great Tit
  • Hobby
  • Jackdaw
  • Linnet
  • Long Tailed Tit
  • Magpie
  • Pied Wagtail
  • Robin
  • Rook
  • Starling
  • Sparrowhawk
  • Common Swift
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Wren

The following tips on getting children into birdwatching have been sourced and adapted from an article by Paul Brook in January’s edition of Bird Watching magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @PaulBrook76

If you’re trying birding as a family, it’s important to make it fun. If you can give children something to do, then it’s more likely to be attractive to them. You can get children to help with feeding the birds (click here and scroll down to section 3 for feeding tips) or take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch – more on that below.

Focussing on cool birds – such as the spectacular and exciting Sparrowhawk, or our plentiful variety of brightly coloured birds like Blue Tits and Goldfinches – helps provide visual appeal to children and adults alike.

Sparrowhawk with Collared Dove prey, OP garden

By feeding birds in your garden, you can attract birds so you can look at them closely and without the need for binoculars and telescopes as children can find these difficult to use until they’re practiced.

Try to find the names of your bird visitors – this RSPB page helps you to identify the most common birds reported in the Birdwatch. So far we’ve recorded all of these in OP except the Coal Tit and House Sparrow.

Get children to help with making or installing a nest box for your garden.

Share your enthusiasm and excitement – if you’re knowledgeable about our birds, pass on your knowledge. Or, if you don’t know what a particular bird is, then find out as a family. They’re all quite fascinating if you take a little time to learn about them, even the little brown jobs like the Dunnock.

It’s time to get ready for Big Garden Birdwatch 2019!

Get ready for 26-28 January. You can Sign-up on the RSPB website to request a FREE postal pack, or take part online.  

The RSPB developed this event in 1979 as a simple winter activity especially for their junior membership to get involved in – so perfect for the kids. They asked asked members to count the birds in their gardens, all at the same time, so they could work out what the UK’s top 10 most common garden birds are.

It’s a weekend activity that you can do in the garden, or even from the comfort of your home. If you don’t have a garden you could head off to Topper St play area to look for birds in the mature trees, or to the edge of the Wildlife Area near the sports ground.

With over half a million people now regularly taking part, coupled with almost 40 years worth of data, Big Garden Birdwatch allows the RSPB to monitor trends and helps them understand how birds are doing.
Read more by clicking here.

The Importance of your Gardens as Nature Reserves

Take a look at this 6 minute video by Chris Packham. See what a difference we could make in Orchard Park.


Click the link below for the video:


Puffed up starling

starling feather close up

starling feather close up

puffed up starling

I saw this character sitting on top of the feeding station earlier today. Starlings are quite beautiful when you can see their iridescent sheen. This one appeared extra interesting as it puffed up its feathers.

Starlings are in decline and could do with a little extra help, as mentioned in a previous post, they don’t seem to be fussy eaters and so might benefit from any food put out in gardens.

See the RSPB website for extra information on starlings http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/s/starling/

The results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch are in


Click on the link above to go to the RSPB’s website and the results. Starlings, which are in decline, have been quite common in Orchard Park. I usually get one or two visitors each day.They don’t seem to be fussy eaters so will benefit from any food you provide for them, although suet cake seems a favourite of their’s in my garden.

What did you see during RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch?

The RSPB are aware that there were some issues with their website during the bird watch weekend. If you haven’t submitted your sitings there’s still plenty of time to do so.

It would be good to hear in the comments if any additional birds were seen in OP.


Blue tit

In my hour I saw 2 collared doves, 2 great tits, 2 robins, 2 blue tits and a dunnock….the dunnocks are the little brown ones a lot of people think are sparrows.

Big Garden Birdwatch 25-26 January 2014

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is coming up on 25-26 January 2014

I took part last year. All it needs is for you to watch the birds in your garden or local green space for one hour during the Birdwatch weekend. See the link below to register and for more details. The RSPB have created apps to make counting birds (and any other animals you see) easy.


From the RSPB: Gardens ‘vital’ for some of our most threatened birds


Some of the UK’s most threatened and best-loved bird species are continuing to decline, according to results from the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey 2013, released today.

Click the RSPB link for more information, and go to the bottom of their page for wildlife gardening tips especially for your garden