The Great British Annual Bird Count

Just before I begin today, I'd like to welcome my new followers and thank them for deciding to visit me (yes I did my little dance for each one of you) but also a great big thank you to my loyal readers, whether you follow or not. 
I feel very honoured that you spend some of your free time reading my posts. 
If I just sat here nattering away to myself, it really wouldn't be any fun...besides it would just be odd and lonely! 

The Annual Big Garden Bird Watch event took place over last weekend and typically the weather turned nasty, the heavens opened and a hoolie howled. 
I'd mistakenly decided that Sundays weather would be the best day and therefore I delayed my count until then...but how wrong can one be? 
It's a good job that the Meteorological Office or the BBC don't rely on me! 
So what's involved with this great bird watch that started 35 years ago?
Basically throughout the whole of the UK on either Saturday or Sunday people sit or stand still for one hour and note all the birds that land in their garden over that hour. It can be any space whether a large garden, a little patch, or feeder hanging from a tree or window. Schools and other organisations such as youth groups or the Girl Guides/Scouts are now getting involved. It's popularity has grown with each year. 
So basically it's a wildlife survey that provides vital statistics for the RSPB 
(The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. It is a charitable organisation registered in England, Wales and Scotland. 
It was founded as the Plumage League in 1889 by Emily Willianson
It also asks in the survey for you to note what other wildlife you have seen over that particular weekend ie foxes, squirrels, frogs and hedgehogs etc. 
The information gathered is used to create a 'snapshot' of bird populations and other species around the country. It helps to highlight which birds are either on the decline or thriving and which might need our help. 
At least it made me sit still for one whole hour, which can prove quite difficult for me. 
I also found it quite stressful which came as a surprise.

(this sack is huge and full of different delights...from mealworms, sunflower hearts, multi-mixed seeds to suet logs. It reaches up to my knees and I struggle to even lift it. The photo on the right is the RSPB spring edition magazine).

With my feeders topped to the brim, fat balls swinging and tables festooned with tasty titbits, I waited for the light! And I waited....and waited....barely able to see the garden never mind the feeders but there wasn't a feather in sight!  
 Take a look for yourself...

Hmm...yeah not so good eh? 
So why do we carry out this survey at this time of year when the weather can be so bad? 
Well apparently its the best time of year for watching, as the cold weather brings the birds into the garden looking for food and shelter, plus there's less foliage for them to hide in. 
Some of my feathered friends when they did finally flutter in had trouble landing and balancing on the feeders because of the strong wind. 
As more and more braved the elements my stress level shot that a chaffinch or a sparrow? A robin or dunnock? It wasn't easy in the dull light when all you could see was their outline. Binoculars, camera, notebook, phone, pen and cuppa constantly juggling made the task even harder. At one stage my daughter said "don't stress Mum" but I wanted to make sure I managed to get a proper count. I had to call in reinforcements when flutterings were everywhere. Shouting "someone get the chaffinches while I get the blackbirds" etc...phewph! 
But all in all we did good and I'm pleased to say we counted 13 different species ~ a total of 38 birds. I think the odd one might have got away but generally that was the number for that hour. I was thrilled when our two Great Spotted Woodpeckers put in an appearance and my favourite robin but alas the wren's, goldfinches and long-tailed tits never showed up in the allocated hour. Maybe they have a lie-in on Sundays?
I nearly needed a lie down myself after all of that excitement! 
But I decided instead to celebrate and unpack my new gorgeous china mug. 
It was a gift from my sister and seemed appropriate as she'd taken part in the count too. 

I'm contemplating braving the weather today in order to nip to my local garden centre in order to buy a new bird table. 
(The trouble is if I go...I could be gone for some time. I've managed to resist visiting the garden centre so far since I arrived back but it'll be very tempting I'm sure and I probably will come back with much more than just a table)
The bird table is another gift for my recent birthday...yep another year has somehow sneaked up to bite me, but I'm not reacting. 
With any luck no-one will notice Emoji
There's so much noise and people in and out of here today, I feel the need to escape. 
It's all the preparations for the new windows which are due to arrive tomorrow. 
Then the fun will really start with trying to take the old ones out and put the new ones in without any of the weather coming in. I may hide under the duvet!
And yes snow IS forecast and that's not just my forecast! 
Stay cosy or cool depending on where you are on the planet.
Have a great day and keep smiling no matter what!

Until next time...