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by KiwiGav

2018 Edinburgh, Scotland Garden Bird List

January 1, 2018 in sightings

It’s time now for the start of my 2018 Garden bird list 2017 showed most of the common British garden birds with a total of 34 birds, unlike 2016 where I had a few more unusual birds for a city garden and a total of 40.

Sadly Dystonia will mainly have me stuck at home again I am studying horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh to learn more about making my garden wildlife friendly.  I may try and do a separate RBGE bird list as the gardens have a great diversity of bird species there and are fantastic to watch.

Previous year lists for my Edinburgh Garden
2017 Edinburgh Garden Bird List
2016 Edinburgh Garden Bird List

Once again for 2018 I’ll be using bird food from RSPB.


The 2018 Edinburgh, Scotland garden bird list:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st – first bird of the year
  2. Black-headed gull – March 4th – FO
  3. Blackcap – Jan 2nd
  4. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  5. Bullfinch – Feb 3rd
  6. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  7. Chaffinch – March 3rd
  8. Coal Tit – Jan 2nd
  9. Collared Dove – Jan 3rd
  10. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  11. Feral Pigeon – Jan 25th
  12. Fieldfare – Jan 18th
  13. Goldcrest – Jan 13th
  14. Goldfinch – Jan 3rd
  15. Common Buzzard – March 7th – FO
  16. Great Tit – Jan 1st
  17. Grey Heron – March 2nd – FO, lots of snow.
  18. Greenfinch – Jan 16th
  19. House Sparrow  – Jan 1st
  20. Jackdaw – Jan – 8th
  21. Kestrel – Feb 22nd – FOx2, only second time I’ve seen Kestrels over the garden.
  22. Lesser black-backed gull – March 4th
  23. Long-tailed Tit – Jan 2nd
  24. Magpie – Jan 2nd
  25. Oystercatcher – Jan 19th – FO
  26. Redwing – March 3rd – snow on the ground.
  27. Robin – Jan 1st
  28. Rook – April 21st
  29. Song Thrush – March 4th – snow still on ground.
  30. Sparrowhawk – Jan 13th
  31. Starlings – Jan 7th
  32. Wren – Jan 10th
  33. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st

8 Species as of January 1st 2018.
12 Species as of January 2nd 2018.
14 Species as of January 3rd 2018.
15 Species as of January 7th 2018.
16 Species as of January 8th 2018.
17 Species as of January 10th 2018.
19 Species as of January 13th 2018.
20 Species as of January 16th 2018.
21 Species as of January 18th 2018.
22 Species as of January 19th 2018.
23 Species as of January 25th 2018.
24 Species as of February 3rd 2018.
25 Species as of February 22nd 2018.
26 Species as of March 2nd 2018.
28 Species as of March 3rd 2018.
31 Species as of March 4th 2018.
32 Species as of March 7th 2018.
33 Species as of April 21st 2018.

If you’re on Twitter my user name is: @ApteryxGav – a great hashtag to follow is #my200birdyear thanks to BirdWatchingMag.
Or instagram: @ApteryxGav – It’s mainly plant photos with a few birds.

I’m currently working on a gardening website that will hopefully be up and running later in 2018, it will obviously have a fair bit about wildlife, and the book Sammy The Shrew for sale which is raising money for charities.

2018 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results, Saturday 27th of January.
A very windy day, grey and over cast, yet warm. The first crocus of the year started showing today.

  1. Blackbird x 7
  2. Blue Tit x 1
  3. Coal tit x 2
  4. Collared Doves x 2
  5. Dunnock x 1
  6. Great tit x 3
  7. House Sparrow x 17
  8. Woodpigeon x 1

by KiwiGav

2017 Edinburgh Garden Bird List

January 1, 2017 in sightings

Like 2016 I sadly won’t be getting to do a lot of walking and birding away from my house, as I’m stuck at home most days I’ve been increasing the amount of wildlife friendly plants (I’d do this anyway even if I wasn’t housebound) in the garden and hoping that over time this will attract and help more birds.

I had a good garden bird list for 2016 – 2016 Edinburgh Garden Bird List –  with the addition of the first Redstart I’ve ever seen, great to have a lifer in my garden! All up for 2016 there were 40 bird species I managed to identify.  There were geese that flew over that I didn’t manage to ID and a few warblers in the garden very briefly that I also couldn’t ID, I will be training up on warblers to see if I can get them for 2017.

To attract birds to my garden, as well as gardening for wildlife when I can, I use RSPB food and feeders, find great products at their website, also great for gifts for nature lovers.  I am a member of the RSPB and SOC as they do great work for UK and World birds.

2017 Garden Bird List, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK:

  1. Blackbird – Jan 1st
  2. Black-headed gull – Jan 1st
  3. Blue Tit – Jan 1st
  4. Bullfinch – Jan 4th
  5. Carrion Crow – Jan 1st
  6. Chaffinch – July 25th
  7. Chiffchaff – August 13th
  8. Coal Tit – Jan 1st
  9. Collared Dove – Jan 13th
  10. Common Buzzard – Feb 19th
  11. Dunnock – Jan 1st
  12. Fieldfare – Dec 29th
  13. Goldcrest – Jan 7th
  14. Goldfinch – February 19th
  15. Great Tit – Jan 1st
  16. Greenfinch – Jan 1st
  17. Grey Heron – April 13th – FO
  18. House Sparrow – Jan 1st
  19. Jackdaw – Jan 3rd
  20. Kestrel – May 31st – FO – think this is the first I’ve seen over my garden.
  21. Long-tailed tit – October 14th
  22. Magpie – Jan 2nd
  23. Oystercatcher – July 13th – FO
  24. Redwing – Jan 30th
  25. Robin – Jan 1st
  26. Rook – March 23rd
  27. Siskin – April 28th
  28. Song Thrush – Jan 4th
  29. Sparrowhawk – Jan 7th
  30. Starling – Jan 1st
  31. Stock Dove – Jan 5th
  32. Swift – June 18th – 3 days later than last year, I haven’t seen a single swallow this year.
  33. Woodpigeon – Jan 1st
  34. Wren – Jan 24th

12 Species as of January 1st 2017.
13 Species as of January 2nd 2017.
14 Species as of January 3rd 2017.
16 Species as of January 4th 2017.
17 Species as of January 5th 2017.
19 Species as of January 7th 2017.
20 Species as of January 13th 2017.
21 Species as of January 24th 2017.
22 Species as of January 30th 2017.
24 Species as of February 19th 2017.
25 Species as of March 23rd 2017.
26 Species as of April 13th 2017.
27 Species as of April 28th 2017.
28 Species as of May 31st 2017.
29 Species as of June 18th 2017.
30 Species as of July 13th 2017.
31 Species as of July 25th 2017.
32 Species as of August 13th 2017.
33 Species as of October 14th 2017.
34 Species as of December 29th 2017.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 30th of January 2017:

This year a few of the sparrows showed up, unlike in 2016: 2016 bird list and RSPB Big garden bird watch but of course more showed up just after I finished my hour.  The highlight was the Redwing and the 17 Magpies.  First Redwing of the year.

  1. Blackbird x 4
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Dunnock x 3
  4. Great Tit x 2
  5. Greenfinch x 1
  6. House Sparrow x 3
  7. Magpie x 17
  8. Redwing x 1
  9. Robin x 2
  10. Woodpigeon x 2

Frost on the ground, count done between 10.20am and 11.20am.

by KiwiGav

2 sightings of sparrowhawk, about 500 meters apart.

March 22, 2015 in sightings

Was stuck indoors most of the day due to pain but went out to fill the feeders about 3pm and as I walked (on crutches) back to the shed to put the excess food away the house sparrows were already on the feeder, I walk out of the shed and whoosh the sparrowhawks dives over my head again towards the house sparrows, twice in 2 days now!  Once again it didn’t get anything, but it did hover above the garden to check the scene.

Strangely it wasn’t the last sparrowhawk sighting I had, I went to my parents in law’s house now that I’m getting about a bit better I went to help with their few tech issues that have broken down since I’ve mainly been stuck in bed.  When I arrive I always check their garden (it also means I don’t have to tackle steps), it’s only about half a kilometre away but it’s much closer to woodland and has more trees around so they get some more interesting birds such as nuthatches and green woodpeckers, it’s still the only place I’ve had great views of a nuthatch.  Once again whoosh a sparrowhawk flies into the garden, a bit further away from me so didn’t get the loud noise, once again it missed the birds.  Lately they’ve had a lot of sparrows too, I gather that’s why the aptly named sparrowhawks are about.

Here’s the list: PIL = Parents In Law.

  1. Blackbird x 1 PIL
  2. Blue Tit x 2 PIL
  3. Dunnock x 1 PIL, 1 at home
  4. Feral Pigeon x 3 PIL
  5. Great Tit x 1 PIL
  6. House Sparrow x 6 PIL, 15+ at home
  7. Magpie x 1
  8. Sparrowhawk x 1 PIL, 1 at home.
  9. Woodpigeon x 1

by KiwiGav

Great start to Spring!

March 21, 2015 in sightings

What a great day in Edinburgh, welcome to Spring! First bee feeding on flowers, first warbler but wasn’t sure what sort it was; it made a sharp tweet sound fluttered around 3 different feeders then took off, also had the first greenfinches since September 11th 2014 when: Trichomonosis strikes my garden. Also spotted a female blackbird, first in a while and had a very close encounter with a sparrowhawk; my wife and I were sitting enjoying the sun in the late afternoon when pretty much between us the sparrowhawk dived towards the feeders, my dog barked and the sparrowhawk turned mid-air and came back over our heads with no prey. What a whoosh! Hadn’t had that close an experience of a diving bird since Australia when a magpie dive bombed me whilst I was cycling and grabbed my earlobe ripping it, spilling blood down my neck. Oh wait, I had a common tern peck me on the Isle of May in 2013, but they’re pretty small and not that aggressive.

  1. Blackbird x 2 1m, 1f.
  2. Blue Tit x 2
  3. Carrion crow x 1
  4. Coal Tit x 1
  5. Dunnock x 3
  6. Feral Pigeon x 2
  7. Greenfinch x 2
  8. House Sparrow x 14+ more in the hedge.
  9. Jackdaw x 2
  10. Magpie x 1
  11. Robin x 1
  12. Sparrowhawk x 1
  13. Woodpigeon x 3
  14. + warbler – unknown

by KiwiGav

Sparrowhawk flies past my window.

February 14, 2015 in sightings

Last summer I planted 300 bulbs in a garden I’d be able to see from the bedroom where I knew I’d be stuck a lot of the time during winter and early spring due to ankle surgery.  I figured it’d be nice to have a good outlook, of the 100 galanthus nivalis snow drops I planted I was counting how many had come up, so far just 21, I chose galanthus nivalis as it was one of the ones said to be good for early pollinators.  Hopefully the other 79 pop up soon!

Whilst counting the flowers a sparrowhawk came darting over the top of them, it was a marvel to see fly through the tight areas of urban gardens.

  1. Sparrowhawk.

Hopefully be back watching birds soon:
The healing’s going ok, lost a lot of feeling in my foot and the bits that haven’t feel like really bad pins and needles, or carpal tunnel syndrome up to strong electric shocks.  I’m going to be starting medicine for dystonia for the first time in my life and it may stop the shakes and mean I can walk and type without heaps of pain.

by KiwiGav

Musselburgh and Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland

October 6, 2014 in sightings

Managed a pretty good day out today seeing a fair few birds:

  1. Sparrowhawk
  2. Greylag geese
  3. Pink Footed Geese – first since being on the site.
  4. Canada Geese
  5. What looked to be a hybrid Canda Goose and White Fronted Goose – hopefully photos to come.
  6. Redshank
  7. Oystercatchers
  8. Lapwings
  9. Little Egret
  10. Little Grebe
  11. Grey Herons
  12. Wigeon – first since being on the site.
  13. Teal – first since being on the site.
  14. Snipe – first since being on the site.
  15. Rook
  16. Carrion Crow
  17. Robin
  18. Curlew
  19. Ruff – first since being on the site.
  20. Dunlin
  21. Black-headed Gull.

My hands have still been quite rubbish, but I have been getting a little bit done for the money pages on Saver Scene Australia – Comparing best savings accounts and in the UK as Vegan month comes up in November I’m helping my wife a vegan get a new website organised called Vegans.UK which will have vegan restaurant reviews, as well as restaurants that cater for vegans but aren’t actually vegan, things like Toby Carvery and the Wetherspoon pubs are often great haunts if in an area where you’re unsure of restaurant choice for vegans. The restaurant reviews will be listed here Restaurants that cater for vegans and there’ll also be a social area with Vegan Forums and Vegan Social Network,this keeps me very busy when my hands are able to do it.  Hopefully be all ready for November 1st with loads of updates through Vegan Month.

by KiwiGav

A sparrowhawk visits the garden. Bullfinches early in the day.

August 21, 2014 in sightings

There was a lot of rain, big storms and a sparrowhawk in the garden today.  We’ve been trying to drain the hole that’s left from where we’re putting the pond but the storms are making it hard.  IN the end we’ve used the leaky pond liner as a tarp (it’s even a poor quality tarp!) to try and keep as much water out, sadly we’re going to have to concrete it now.  Not as natural looking and may not be as great for wildlife but still it should be better than just filling the hole in again.

There was much alarm from the House Sparrows in the hedge today, I figured it’d be a cat and had a look out the window, often when the cats show the birds just fly off, however the noise kept going and the sparrows were very lively in the hedge, I looked around a bit more and caught a sparrowhawk take off from the apple tree in the garden.  It circled over a few of the neighbours gardens before it was gone.

Here’s the list for today:

  1. Blue Tit x 2
  2. Bullfinch x 2 – I couldn’t sleep, only managed 2 hours due to pain, so I went outside at about 5.30am to walk around the garden, it’s only small to medium sized, but it lets me stretch my legs and see a small amount of wildlife, this was the first time I’d seen bullfinches since: 31st of May – Although have taken time off in that time from recording my birds, but pretty sure haven’t seen any all summer.
  3. Dunnock x 2
  4. Feral Pigeon x 2
  5. House Sparrow x 20+
  6. Jackdaw x 2
  7. Magpie x 1
  8. Sparrowhawk x 1
  9. Woodpigeon x 2

by KiwiGav

Sparrowhawk in Edinburgh!

May 9, 2014 in sightings

Managed a very short glimpse of a sparrowhawk through my front window today, still impressed that these amazing birds can be seen so close to the city centre, I think about 3.5 miles as the crow flies!

  1. Blackbird x 1
  2. Blue Tit x 1
  3. Carrion crow x 1
  4. Dunnock x 2
  5. Feral Pigeon x 2
  6. House Sparrow x heard
  7. Jackdaw x 2
  8. Magpie x 1
  9. Sparrowhawk x 1
  10. Woodpigeon x 4

there’s been a fair few reports of swifts south of here, but I’ve not seen any yet, just the one swallow.  Most of the birds seem to be sticking to the hedges or nestboxes, I gather on eggs, which is great to know!

by KiwiGav

Sparrowhawk getting chased off by two Black-headed Gulls.

January 21, 2014 in sightings

Had a flurry of hail today, but there were still a few birds around, I’m hoping to drain parts of my back garden as when we have a few days of rain some parts become unusable and loose your boot muddy!  I’ll be draining it to try and get it to go to a pond and hope for results like Lyn gets in her ponds: Dragonfly Larvae – Recently I’ve made holes to try and soak the water away from the worst patches are already causing interest for birds to bathe in, hopefully a new pond will be great for the wildlife.

  1. Blackbird x 2
  2. Black-headed Gulls x 2 chasing off a sparrowhawk
  3. Blue Tit x 2
  4. Carrion crow x 2
  5. Dunnock x 1
  6. House Sparrow x 5+
  7. Jackdaw x 2
  8. Magpie x 1
  9. Robin x 1
  10. Sparrowhawk x 1
  11. Woodpigeon x 2

by KiwiGav

Very sunny day in Edinburgh and a sparrowhawk visits.

January 9, 2014 in sightings

A beautiful day here in Edinburgh, perfect T-shirt weather in fact, after I finished off some work I spent a bit of time in the garden trying to work out a way to drain a very boggy area of the garden, I have tried gravel pits; they just became big puddles and the water just isn’t soaking away.  It looks like piping the water away to an area where I’m hoping to put a pond is the most sensible idea, will see how my ankles and wrists are later this year then I’ll hopefully try and do this.

After thinking about the pond I put up a couple of new bird boxes to try and get more birds nesting in the garden, I also cleaned the one that was used last year, there was a very nice looking nest and one un-hatched egg in there.  It looks so beautiful!  Even so, I’m obviously VERY against egg collectors and shocked that people would do such a thing!

I also went to the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, got a membership for Christmas as it’s a flat area not too far away that’s not crowded and good for me to exercise gently, however I didn’t realise it closed at 4pm and arrived at about 15.15, didn’t get to see much.

  1. Blackbird x 1
  2. Blue Tit x 1
  3. Carrion crow x 1
  4. House Sparrow x 15+ came back after the Sparrowhawk attack.
  5. Jackdaw x 3
  6. Magpie x 4 in garden – 1 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh.
  7. Sparrowhawk x 1 – actually hunting sparrows, which were making a lot of noise but I couldn’t see them!
  8. Woodpigeon x 4

flock of geese flew overhead at about 17.50 not sure what type, I’m not great on my geese calls.