Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Rules of engagement

What counts as a 'spot'? At the beginning of the month I decided to start a year-long garden bird list so that I could keep track of the number and variety of species that drop by.
Photo: Michael Steinbeck-Reeves
I'm certainly no twitcher. Not even a 'proper' birder either really - more a general naturalist with an interest in just about everything.
So, I could do with a bit of twitching guidance here. Should my list include birds that I hear, but don't see? And how about ones that fly over - or close to - my garden without touching down?
The over-fly question is particularly relevant today. I was busy in the shed at the bottom of the garden and heard the angry squawking that crows go in for when they're mobbing a bird that is seen as a threat.
With a quick glance out of the shed door I first saw a jackdaw doing aerial acrobatics and, second, the focus of its attentions, a red kite. On spotting me the jackdaw beat a hasty retreat, while the red kite kept up a steady pace heading north along the valley.
Its line of travel took it above, and parallel to, my boundary hedge. So, I'm wondering is that a bird for my list or isn't it?

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