St Albans’ Gardens Do it Again!

Following yesterday’s Herts 24-hr Garden Bird Watch we are pleased to announce the winner as John Pritchard of Shafford Farm, St Albans.  Congratulations to John who wins a personalised notebook.

John scored an impressive 115 points with 56 species recorded from his garden over the 24 hour period.  Hot on his heels was Rupert Evershed with 100 points and 51 species and Chris Ruis with 99 points and 48 species, both from gardens in St Albans.

The competition proved very popular with 20 observers recording their

sightings throughout the day on the Google sheet and others taking part informally.  The new ‘bonus points’ addition to the competition proved a real hit adding interest to the day as observers, for example, looked out for the first butterfly (1 extra point) or listened for a singing Blackcap (2 extra points). View full results on the 24-hr Winter Watch Googlesheet.

In total an impressive 76 different species were recorded from Herts gardens in the 24-hr period with 6 gardens recording 4 or more raptors and over half the gardens recording 3 or more Red Kites soaring together – perhaps thanks to the lovely sunny conditions.  ‘Best Bird’ of the day was Marsh Tit – recorded from two gardens and a surprise first for Matt Moreton’s Gadebridge garden.

Not all the action was during daylight hours with Coots heard noisily patrolling their territories in the dark over some gardens, Tawny Owls calling from many gardens and a migrating Ringed Plover heard over Ian Bennell’s Hemel Hempstead garden just before 8.30pm.

Once again, the extraordinary wealth of birdlife (and wildlife in general) in Herts gardens was evident and means that events like this will no doubt become part of the Herts ‘birding calendar’ in the future.  In the words of one observer in Garston, “One of the only good things about lockdown was discovering the joy and potential of sitting in your garden for hours, just watching and listening.”

To that end, a fresh Google sheet can be found here for anyone who wants to record their garden sightings throughout the Spring.  Following last year’s popular competition, there are plans to run a month-long garden competition including another 24-hr garden birdwatch in April…details to follow in due course.