Learning News

BirdWatch - Members' Pictures and Stories

Published : 26 April 2020 Views: 4753

U3A members have been submitting some amazing photos and descriptions of birds they’ve spotted in their gardens as part of the U3A BirdWatch scheme. BirdTrack - from the British Trust of Ornithology - is a project to note the species of birds they see in order to track migration movements and distributions of birds across Britain and Ireland.

A common thread amongst all entries is that lockdown has encouraged birds to be more active and forward in visiting residential gardens. 

We’ve pulled together below just a selection of the different species or bird related garden activity that have been sent in from members across the UK. We hope these inspire you to keep sending in your observations and sharing with U3A.

Your Bird Photos

Julie from Southport U3A in Merseyside took this amazing picture (below) of a Blue Tit on a catkin plant. The colours are spectacular.



Carolyn from Haxby and Wigginton U3A in North Yorkshire has bird visitors in her garden on a regular basis this time of year. Carolyn particularly loved the antics of the Long Tailed Tits (below).Geoff Rands from Maidstone U3A took this bath time photos of some pigeons sharing a bath, a good way to save


Geoff from Maidstone U3A in Kent took this bath time photos of some pigeons sharing a bath, a good way to save water.


The chaffinch, (below on the left), and the long tailed tit, (below on the right), were photographed by Brian from Belfast U3A in his back garden in Carryduff.


While recovering from a hip operation, Hugh from Penicuik and District U3A in Scotland took this fantastic photo of a sparrowhawk (below) The young sparrowhawk sat on top of his leylandii hedge for some time and was in no hurry to fly away. The delay between selecting the right composition with its rapid and unpredictable head movement, pressing the shutter and capturing the image meant that it took lots of shots to get the best photo. It was definitely worth the wait.


Brian from Sidmouth U3A in Devon has had a few garden visitors since lockdown began including a sparrow hawk on the left below and a blackbird at the bird feeder on the right.


Christine from Evesham U3A in Worcestershire has bluetits (below) nesting in her garden.



Not having a garden didn’t stop Jenny, Abbeywood and Thamesmead U3A, in London from snapping this lovely goldfinch nesting in a tree outside her flat (below).


Jonathan, Sutton Bridge U3A, in Lincolnshire, was delighted to be able to watch a pair of song thrushes from an upstairs window. This ivy-covered sycamore tree is a magnet for the garden birds.


This gracious Grey Heron was snapped by Richard, Sudbury U3A, in Suffolk, on the bank of the River Stour in Great Cornard.

Roundup of bird sightings

Beverley, Thanet U3A, has spotted a huge variety of birds in her garden: goldfinches, great tits, starlings, great spotted woodpeckers, woodpigeons, collard doves, black birds, magpies, robins, sparrows and seagulls. 

Meriel has set up a garden birdfeeder with suet blocks and seed mix. She regularly see: robins, great tits and wood pigeons. 

Denham, Edinburgh U3A, has had visits from long tailed tits in his garden occasionally for 30 years This year, during lockdown, a pair built a nest near his conservatory and he now has a constant stream of novel behaviours to observe through the window.

Rob, Narbeth U3A, spotted a wheatear on the shore of the Cleddau river near Landshipping.

Jane from Forest Town U3A regularly sees blue tits, coal tits, great tits, long tailed tits, wrens, magpies, blackbirds dunnocks, sparrows, collared doves, wood pigeons, buzzards, sparrow hawks goldfinches, greenfinches and great spotted woodpeckers.

Peregrines nesting on Rochdale Town Hall can be watched on the Rochdale Council website -recommended by Valerie from U3A Whitworth.

Robins, dunnocks, blackbirds, blue tits, long tail tits, goldfinches, pigeons and magpies are among the visitors Gill, Arnold Nottingham U3A has had in her garden.

John, Waterlooville U3A has been bird spotting on the Farlington marshes bird reserve and seen shellducks, wigeons, avocets, blacktailed godwits, gadwalls, skylarks, blackbacked gulls, many blackheaded gulls, many moorhen and coots, lapwings, mallards and canada geese.

Val, Chichester U3A has shared her garden sightings with us including chiffchaffs, chaffinches and garden warblers.
Alison Trenery, Uttoxeter U3A, saw two housemartins peeping over the edge of their nest (which had stayed put over the winter) in the eaves of her house.

Sandra, Barnsley U3A, has spotted blackbirds enjoying the sun in her back garden.
We would love to hear from more members about your sightings and for you to share any photographs you have managed to take of your feathered visitors.

Mary Gibbons is our Birdwatching subject adviser for the U3A movement, Mary has a lot of information on her Subject Adviser page to help with this and can help with any individual enquiries.

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