Congratulations to Chris Gibson who won the first 24-hour Herts Garden Bird Race on Saturday 25th April 2020.  Chris recorded a very impressive 50 species from his Stanstead Abbotts garden on the day and wins this exclusive mug!

Read Chris' account of his day at the end of this article.

Joint runners-up were Chris Ruis, St Albans and Paul Ward, Rickmansworth who both finished on 47 species. Go to GoogleDoc to see all counts. 

On the day 31 people took part, submitting 1,005 records and recording 79 species, an average of 32 species per garden. It was a chilly start, especially for those that

made a pre-dawn start, with the sun not emerging until early afternoon. Despite the best efforts of all observers no rarities were found.  There were five species recorded from every garden: Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit and Magpie, with 12 species recorded from one only: Barn Owl, Egyptian Goose, Kingfisher, Lapwing, Lesser Redpoll, Lesser Whitethroat, Oystercatcher, Pochard, Reed Bunting, Siskin, Tufted Duck and Willow Warbler.

Cuckoo were recorded from six gardens, Little Egret from five, Tawny Owl from six, Swift from seven, Peregrine from four, House Martin from nine, and Ring-necked Parakeet from 11. Red kite was narrowly the most recorded of the five species of raptor, seen from 28 or 90% of gardens with Buzzard seen from just one garden fewer. Blackcap was by far and away the most recorded of the five warblers, noted from around 75% of gardens. Lesser Black-backed Gull was recorded from 24 gardens, ten more than Herring Gull and Great Spotted triumphed in the battle of the woodpeckers noted from 14 gardens versus 12 for Green.

See attached a list of species recorded sorted by most records to fewest: Garden Bird Race - Top Species

A big thank you to everyone that took part. Read Chris Gibson's account of his winning day below:

"My garden is only a small front garden about 24 by 12 foot so all birds were seen from the garden not in the garden. However it?s in Stanstead Abbotts which is geographically right between Amwell & Rye Meads nature reserves. It overlooks the Lea navigation with a field beyond that which is surrounded by trees & hedges. Behind the field is a small lake but that?s hidden by trees at the back of the field.

Therefore there?s always a good chance of seeing birds travelling between Amwell & Rye Meads and that explains getting birds like Cuckoo, Oystercatcher and Little Egret on the list. I managed at some point in the day to pick up almost all the regular birds. The four main raptors are seen every day plus all the ducks that stay to breed. Kingfisher is regular along the canal so I got that early in the day. Mistle & Song Thrush are constant at the moment as are Stock Dove. The biggest thrill was not one but two Cuckoos. The second one was mid afternoon when it had all gone quiet.

As the day wore on I checked the numbers and realised I had a chance of winning so it was getting a bit intense especially as I hadn?t had Robin, Starling or Goldfinch. In fact Robin & Starling were my last two birds and I didn?t get them until after 8pm! Chiffchaff & Grey Wagtail let me down as they are regular and if my hearing or call recognition was better I might?ve got one or two more Warblers on the list."