Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Lay down the challenge... Xmas birding

This time of year is always hard to balance wildlife watching and the demands of Christmas and short days, but even in the most unexpected places wildlife can be seen.

Last night I went to John Lewis in Bristol and a few moths were flying around a car park light, and within the underground car park a robin fed on some discarded food. On Monday night a Tawny Owl flew over the house, which I saw by pure fluke taking the rubbish out to the bin, though the singing Redwings on the move are still being heard. Today next to the M5, I estimate about 100 curlew were feeding in a field, and the number of Buzzards around have increased recently. I also nearly flattened a Grey Squirrel which ran in front of the car. It survived though.

On Sunday an early morning walk along Sand Bay, at low tide didn't produce much, though makes for atmospheric images. Out towards the sea, were about 500 Dunlin, 50+ Curlew and high numbers of Shelduck. Which reminds me I've not had time recently to do my stationary scope watch. Hopefully will get back to doing this over Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I've finally managed to print off my Christmas Cards, which now gives me time to plan for the annual NHU Bird Cup. This was launched again today. Basically the Bird Cup has simple rules.

Count the number of different species seen or heard in the wild, in Britain, between 00.00 on 25th December (i.e. midnight on Christmas Eve) and 24.00 on 1st January (i.e midnight at the end of New Year's Day). Escapes, cagebirds, birds in a zoo, the Christmas turkey do not count - everything else does.

This year's categories are:

1. Supreme Champion – longest overall list

2. Best Beginner - never bird watched before

3. Best Intermediate - improving birder

4. Best Family - birding with children

5. Highest Garden List - species seen in, over or from your garden…

Last year I was 8 off the Supreme Champion prize, which was 98 species. Not sure how I'll do well this year, as I'm not match fit, but will give it a go.

So if any of you out there in the blogging community fancy taking up a similar challenge, maybe we could have a Blog Birding Day in early January when everyone posts how many birds they've seen during this Christmas time frame (and around the world, not just UK). It could be fun. Of course there are no winners or losers, just being out there watching is the prize in itself.

What do you think?


  1. That's some great bird sightings without even trying BR. That's what's so good about watching wildlife - just keeping one's eyes open!

    Your bird "competition" sounds a good idea - good luck with yours.

  2. Hi again Andrew :-)

    Wow, this is a comp for the devoted for sure ! 98 species – good going :-D

    I will keep an eye out over this period – just out of curiosity. I don’t go birding so it will be interesting to see what passes by me – and what I could identify! Of course, I’ll continue to watch the garden :-D

    Wishing you wonderful wildlife and brilliant bird moments in 2009 :-D

  3. Andrew, I might just try it. I'm not one for bird races in general but I'm off over that whole period so I'm bound to be out and about with Bunts...I have plans for New Years day so I wont be able to respond to you until a day or two later...

  4. Thanks Tricia, Shirl and Stewart. I hope you all have a fabulous christmas, and will look forward to more of the same in 2009. Merry Christmas

  5. Just saw about this on the Mostlymacro blog I think I'll join in this! It's an excuse to stare out of the window all Xmas... ;)