Unusual visitors flock to Hampshire gardens
A NATIONAL charity has issued the Hampshire results for its Big Garden Birdwatch survey.
The RSPB survey results show that common garden visitors such as robins, starlings and blackbirds have been joined by more unusual visitors.
UK gardens have seen a boom in the number of visits from unusual migrants such as waxwings and it’s good news for Britain’s favourite bird, the robin, as the numbers seen visiting gardens are at their highest level for more than 20 years.
In the UK as a whole, nearly half a million people took part in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey counting more than eight million birds during the 38th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
Hampshire residents rallied to the call for participants with 13 per cent more people taking part this year compared with 2007.
The event – held over the last weekend in January – revealed an explosion in the number of recorded sightings of waxwings. These attractive birds flock to UK gardens in winter once every seven or eight years when the berry crop fails in their native Scandinavia. Known as an “irruption”, results showed that waxwings were seen in around 19 times more gardens in the south east in 2017 compared with previous years.
Weather conditions leading up to the Birdwatch meant that this year UK gardens were treated to a range of different visitors.
There was also a large jump in the numbers of other migrants, such as redwing and fieldfare, as the sub-zero temperatures on the continent forced them to go in search of milder conditions. The south east saw numbers of redwing triple while our gardens saw a five-fold increase in fieldfare sightings.
Dr Daniel Hayhow, RSPB conservation scientist, said: “In the lead up to the Birdwatch there was some speculation as to whether we could see a ‘waxwing winter’ and the results prove that to be the case. Flocks of these striking looking birds arrived in the UK along the North Sea coast and will have moved across the country in search of food, favouring gardens where they can feast on berries.”
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.