Being involved in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch campaign has been a big deal for me this year.
Binn Green @ RSPB Dovestones
Binn Green is a little gem of a place just up the road from me; where the wildlife is concentrated in one place and the garden birds are just fantastic. You see wildlife there that you don’t see in your everyday garden. Me and my Mum thought it would be great to hold a small community birdwatch and contacted the staff at RSPB Dovestones for permission. Funny enough, it was staff at RSPB Dovestones that signed me up as a junior member years ago.
We met up with Miriam, the visitor experience manager, a few days before, to go over all the details for the event and here’s the thing, it just shows how open to ideas the RSPB are, because the staff were so helpful and sorted really important things out, like the toilets (and believe me, for my mum, they are at the top of the list!)
On the day the weather forecast was dreadful, but what do they say, the sun shines on the righteous!! Well it wasn’t quite sunny, but it was dry and you can’t ask for much more in January! We had hot brews for everyone, with fairtrade hot chocolate served in compostable disposable cups. Grandma brought the most important thing, home-made cake! Miriam and volunteer intern, James came in the RSPB van, armed with spare binoculars and spotter sheets. It was a laid back event and well, we just watched the birds, had a chat, walked around, it was really relaxed.
Members from People First Tameside came; my Mum works there and it’s for people with learning disabilities. For some, this was the first time they had ever done anything like this before. It was important that people were warm and dry and that is was a positive experience, so that they would try it again in the future. One of the members has size 14 feet and needed some wellies; Mum put a post on Facebook and a few phone calls later, success. Check out those shiny black beauties – covered in mud in seconds!
Some of the kids from Young Operation Farm , my cousin, Francesco and a friend from school came. It was great ‘cos the adults gave us freedom to roam, so we walked together down to this pond area a few times. We all ‘mucked’ in serving brews too.
And here’s what we saw blue, great and coal tits, a nuthatch, goldfinches, chaffinches, greenfinches, siskins, blackbirds, robins, dunnocks, a GS woodpecker and a lesser redpoll. Dave (I think he’s the boss) had the briefest glimpse of a brambling and I was a bit gutted I didn’t see that. But I did have the ‘spotting’ of the day, a mountain hare!
38 people came to the event and not forgetting the 3 dogs – Bella, Buddy & Bailey – who joined us too!
My Aunty Claire led a #BGBWSketchalong check out this vid, well cool and she thought it was rubbish!
Huge thanks to Miriam, Dave and James at RSPB Dovestones, we all had a fantastic time!
The next day, me and my Dad did our own BGBW looking out into our back garden from the comfort of the back bedroom.
We saw 6 sparrows, 2 x great, 2 x blue and 1 x coal tits, a wood pigeon, a GS woodpecker, a nuthatch, sparrows, 4 x jackdaws and a robin.
We prepped like a boss, with a brew, some Jaffa cakes and notepad. I think it’s one of the best BGBW ever, with some brilliant species.
There’s just one thing I need to do now…..
SUBMIT my results !!!!
Taking part in the BGBW has been a fantastic experience and of course it doesn’t mean you just watch birds in January, you can do it anytime. For me, there is a certain feeling with birdwatching, where the beauty and awe of the birds doesn’t just go through your eyes, it goes through your heart.