Saturday, 20 July 2013

What Do You Put on Your Garden list?

When I was younger I would only ever put birds that had actually landed in my garden on my garden list.  But of course this throws up difficulties.  Birds like Swift are not going to land in your garden are they?  So do you tick them?  If they were on your patch you would so why not your garden.
Yesterday I got an amazing garden tick. An adult Mediterranean Gull in fine breeding plumage.  Obviously I couldn't let this off the garden list, but it flew over, so do I put it on the list?  If so the Kestrels, Peregrines, Sparrowhawks, Cormorants that have all flown over make it on to the list too.  I'm not complaining though, it adds about another ten to the list if you count all the fly overs.  But does that also mean you can tick birds that were actually in someone else's garden?  Surely yes. But then is it not a bit dishonest, putting Common Gull on your garden list when it was really in a neighbours? Maybe you should change it to a 'Seen from garden' list, but who wants two different lists for their garden?  No one, so you then have no option but to put the birds on, do you?
 My garden list is somewhere around forty  very low I know, but it is a rather  very small garden, about 7 by 5 meters in size.  And not a very wild area either, just your average suburban street.


  1. Hi Gideon a very interesting dilemma , personally i count birds that are seen from my garden , ie fly overs , on neighbours roof or actually in my garden , like yours my garden is quite small and would love to see a Med Gull fly over it :-)

  2. Hi Gideon. I fully understand your dilemma. I've been keeping a garden list for four and a half years now. I only count birds that actually put a foot down in my suburban garden (also quite small), or on it's boundaries (i.e. fences & walls) . I've seen some great birds 'from' my garden that I'd love to be able to put on my list. The difference between my list and yours is that I only keep an annual list. I've never bothered with a 'life list' as I came to bird-watching late in life. This year I've broken all past records with 36 species already, including Redstart!- my previous annual record = 32 species.

    This year I've also taken it a stage further (maybe even a step too far!) in that I'm keeping a daily tally of numbers of each species seen. I'm then compiling a weekly list of maximum daily numbers for each species seen in that week. I am then keeping a graph for each species of these maxima for each week of the year, to show the fluctuation in numbers. Not sure if I'll repeat the exercise next year as it's a bit time-consuming!

    Loved your images of the Med Gull! Congratulations!

    1. I think that if I didn't count fly over from this garden the list would probably be as low as 20 something! 36 species is very good for one year though.


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