Bird-watching has somewhat of a marmite effect for many but once you’ve started, the sky’s the limit! Last weekend heralded the Big Garden Bird Watch where hundreds of schools and individuals took up a pair of binoculars, pen and notepad to dedicate an hour of their time to a game of bird bingo. In Sutton, local residents joined Biodiversity Gardens for a free guided walk of local green spaces with the London Borough of Sutton’s Biodiversity team, followed by well-deserved hot breakfasts and advice on wildlife gardening.
The snow was barely noticeable and the birds were out in force for the first sunny day in a week. 26 species were identified over the course of the walk, ranging from a lone Little Egret and Pied Wagtail to flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares on their annual visit from Scandinavia. Later on, the project visited St. Nicholas Churchyard, a site of Local Importance for conservation, for a free bird-box building workshop. The church is a lovely little area of greenspace in the heart of Sutton, and we were greeted by a small group of Redwings in the grounds.
This is a great time of year to start bird-watching, and you can tempt them into your gardens and greenspaces by introducing a variety of wildlife friendly plants such as hawthorn, ivy, dog rose, cotoneaster and knapweeds. In a really healthy garden, birds won’t need much supplementary food.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to submit your survey results online. Species records are crucial to inform our conservation efforts, and your gardens form a large gap in the UK’s data.