News – Page 6

by

Jean Powley

Song Thrush

Photo by John Harding

What happened to our garden birds in 2020?

At the beginning of March, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) announced the 2020 results from Garden BirdWatch in which approximately 1,200 people are participating.

As we all know, 2020 was a very difficult year for us all. Due to the restrictions imposed by the government at lockdown, we were not allowed to travel far and were told to stay local. As a result of this, many people took more of an interest in their gardens and subsequently the amount of people participating in the scheme doubled. This was not only beneficial for their mental health and well-being but it also provided the BTO with more information about the way birds use our gardens.

From the results, the following observations were noted. The mild winter of 2019/2020 was particularly beneficial for small birds such as Wrens, Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits. The two former species increased by 11%. Very cold winters can decimate the populations of these small birds and if the current trend towards milder winters continues, they should do well. On the other hand, there were fewer migrant winter thrushes visiting us. This includes the Fieldfare and the Redwing. The same applied to the Brambling, which is a member of the Finch family. It is thought that these birds stayed further north and east of the British Isles as there was an ample supply of food for them. Those which did migrate here probably found plenty of sustenance in the countryside so didn’t have the need to come in to gardens,

The spring of 2020 was warm and the Holly Blue butterfly emerged earlier than usual. It was a poor season for Blue Tits and Great Tits though. This has been quite obvious in my own garden as I have had very few visits from Great Tits especially.

A dry early summer impacted on birds such as Blackbirds and Song Thrushes which rely on soil invertebrates. The ground became too hard for them to get to their food source. One bird which did do well was the Sparrowhawk and in southern England, the Ring-necked Parakeet also did well.

So, the winners of 2020 were Wren, Long-tailed Tit, Sparrowhawk, Pheasant, Green Woodpecker, Ring-necked Parakeet, Swallow, Herring Gull, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff.

The losers of 2020 were: Siskin, Rook, Jay, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Starling. It is interesting to note that virtually all members of the Crow family were down in numbers.

One bird worth a special mention is the humble House Sparrow. Over the last 40 years, there has been a rapid decline of this species and unbelievably it is now on the red list of the Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC). Although the rate of decline has slowed down there is a long way to go before numbers get up to what they were before, if they ever do at all. The House Sparrow has done better in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but not so well in England.

It will be interesting to see how our garden birds will fare this year.

Jean Powley

BTO Garden BirdWatch is a weekly survey that has been running since 1995. The survey which is free and open to all generates valuable information on the use that birds and other   wildlife makes of gardens. The information is then used by the BTO researchers to understand the importance of gardens and other resources, like supplementary food that we provide. I am one of the many volunteers or ‘citizen scientists’ who help the BTO and am the Ambassador for the scheme in Nottinghamshire.

If you are interested in joining the scheme, visit www.bto.org/join-gbw

Long Tailed Tits

Photo by John Harding

Chaffinch

Photo by Jean Powley

Edelweiss
Photo by Jean Powley

www.woodboroughhortsoc.org.uk

Our Virtual Spring Show for 2021

All members of the Society should have received details and a schedule of our virtual Spring Show. If you haven’t received yours yet, please contact a committee member. This is a new and exciting venture for us and we do hope that many of you will participate.

The Flower of the month is the Daisy

When we think of daisies most of us probably think of the Common Daisy Bellis perennis which grows on our lawns. The name daisy derives from the Anglo Saxon term “days eye” because the petals close up at night and open at daybreak. Is it my imagination or do we see less of them these days? I remember when as a child I would gather a few daisies from the lawn and make daisy chains. Simple pleasures!  These days the daisy is considered a weed and we seem to prefer a pristine lawn free of all daisies, buttercups etc.

If you pick a single daisy, you might think you are picking one flower but actually, it is made up of a few flowers. The central yellow disc of the plant is made up of a composite of several tiny flowers called ‘disc florets’ and the surrounding white petals are in fact ‘ray florets.’

The daisy belongs to the Asteraceae (formerly Compositae) family and there are an incredible 230,000 plus species in this family. This family is named after the Greek and Latin for “Star” thus, many species of the family are very easy to identify, for instance, there are Ox eye daisies, sunflowers, dahlias, marigolds, echinacea, rudbeckia and chrysanthemums and also the charming alpine flower, the Edelweiss. The family is not restricted to flowers. Chicory, lettuce and herbs such as chamomile and tarragon are also included in this family. These are just a few examples and of course there are many many more.

I wonder how many members of the Asteraceae family are present in your garden and how many daisies do you have on your lawn?

With a hope of better times to come, we have set out the following programme. All of these events are subject to Government rulings and local conditions at the time. We will obviously inform you of any changes in the future. If you wish to join the Society please visit our Web page for further information. You would be most welcome.

www.woodboroughhortsoc.org.uk

Upcoming Events

July 19th 2021 – 7.30-9.30pm
The Rose and Summer Flower Show.

September 4th 2021 – 7.30am (for setting up and registering)
2pm-4pm  – The Autumn Show.

October 11th 2021  – 7.30-9.30pm
Speaker – Ian Retson –
The Woodland  Trust

November 8th 2021 – 7.30-9.30pm
AGM followed by Speaker- Jeff Bates. Historic Gardens of Derbyshire.

December 6th 2021 – 7.30-9.30pm
Society Social Evening + buffet.

2022

January 10th 2022-7.30-9.30pm
Speaker- Graham Piearce. 
 The Rose family of  Trees

February 14th 2022 – 7.30-9.30pm
Speaker – Neil Timm – Ferns

Dahlia Moonfire
Photo by Jean Powley

Common Daisies
Photo by Jean Powley

Rudbekia
Photo by Jean Powley