Monday, 26 January 2015

Big Garden Birdwatch 2015

As I'm sure many of you know, over the weekend it was the Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 which is ran by the RSPB. 

It is the world's largest wildlife survey, and it takes pace every year, providing millions of sets of data. This allows us to see whether species are declining, rising or staying the same. This year was the first year I have taken part! I spent 1 hour, from 8 till 9, recording the birds visiting the garden, and then recording them. For the BGBW you have to record the highest amount of birds you see at any one time. I did this and submitted the results, however I also conducted my own survey, counting the total number of birds visiting over the whole hour. Here are my results:

As you can see over 40% of the visits were by wood pigeons! They are easily my most common bird, due to the fact that there is a coniferous woodland at the end of the garden which provides a roosting area for loads of pigeons, probably over 100. It was therefore pretty inevitable not to get this biased result!

I then made a bar chart to compare the visits between the smaller garden birds & the less common visitors. The blue tit was my most common visitor to the bird feeders with 9 different individuals visiting over the hour. I had to take an educated guess whether they were the same or different individuals, by taking into account the direction they came from and then left in, and also there size and general build. I had 5 visits from both the Robin and the Blackbird, and 3 from the Great Tit and Collard Dove. The Carrion Crow, Magpie and Gull individuals were spotted in the trees around my garden, or flying overhead. Last but not least, the Dunnock with one visit. Below are a few photos taken during the birdwatch, and also the hours shortly after!

During the hour after the Birdwatch:

 If you joined in the BGBW I hope you enjoyed it as much as me! I look forward to next year, and to see if my results change...

Saturday, 10 January 2015


Cornwall is one of my favourite places….ever. 

I have been going camping there since I was young, and my grandparents even went there when they were little. The last summer I spent just over 2 weeks there, going swimming everyday and taking evening walks along the beach! The field where we camp is literally a 5 minute stroll to the beach, and a 10 minute walk to the beach shop which make very nice pasties! 

The wildlife around the campsite and coast is incredible. I think this is because of the huge range of habitats, including wildflower meadows, rock pools and lagoons. 

Whilst on a walk with Pippin, I noticed this lady meditating. I don't know why but it made me so relaxed. I love the photograph above as it is so simple, but can tell 1000 words.

I am working on making a short episode on the wildlife in Cornwall. I got footage of sea anemones to corn buntings. I wanted the episode to look professional… let me know what you think.

Here are a few of the photos I took over the 2 weeks :)

We had to make an enclosure out of wind breakers so that Pippin couldn't escape! She managed to get out a few times which she found really exciting, thankfully she didn't cause too much mischief. The beach we visit is called Porthcothan beach, and is often completely empty. We often see grey seals swimming around the rocks, and have even swam with them once! Unfortunately I didn't have my underwater GoPro so couldn't get any shots.

As you can see in the photo below, our caravan has an amazing view of the wildflower fields and the ocean. The hedgerows are alive with butterflies and bees in the summer, and I use a net to catch them and count the different species.

I spotted this bird perched on a branch whist taking photos of butterflies. I think it may be a corn bunting which would be very exciting and they are quite rare. It's a shame about there dramatic decline over the past few years. However, wildflower meadows like those around the campsite are excellent to improve the biodiversity of the area as the more insects, the more birds, the more mammals!

I went on a wildlife boat trip in Padstow in which I spotted Grey seals (as above), razorbills, oyster catchers and so many more bird species! We also spotted a HUGE jellyfish.

I use a net and bucket to go rock pooling and investigate the species which are around the coast. As the tide rises and connects the rock pools to the open ocean you never quite know what your going to find! Some of the species I recorded where snake-locks anemones, strawberry anemones and shrimps.

In the shallow waters around the coast there are literally hundreds of common blue jellyfish. I collected a few of them in a bucket to take some photos of to study.

I especially liked doing the time-lapse of the tide rising into the rock pools. When I visit next I'm going to try and do an underwater time-lapse of the rock pools, maybe seeing the movement of snails and jellyfish!

I look forward to next year already!