- Blue tits (some are inspecting the nesting box on the wall of the house)
- Great tits
- Canada geese (NEW - didn't see these in January)
- Pheasant (NEW - didn't see these in January either)
That's 14 species. Birds I saw in January that I didn't see again in February include long-tailed tits, woodpecker, gulls, herons, nuthatch, chaffinch. But didn't spend as much time birdwatching this month. So they were probably there, I just wasn't looking out of the window at the right time.
It was only a few years ago I decided I wanted to be able to identify all the birds that frequent my garden. I'm not a dedicated "twitcher". I have no interest in going to some desolate spot and sitting in a little camouflage tent in the driving rain in the hope of spotting some rare bird.
But I was delighted at how quickly I learned to identify my local garden birds. It was quite strange; I would have told you that I didn't get many birds in my garden, and most of them were all the same - a mass of small similar brown birds. But when I started watching I realised there were quite a few birds I could already identify - robins, blackbirds, magpies etc. And the "little brown jobs" eventually separated themselves out into sparrows (male and female quite distinct), chaffinches (again males and females are different), dunnocks, wrens and a few other things. Blue tits and great tits stymied me at first but now they look totally different, I don't understand why I found it so hard to tell them apart. Woodpigeons and collared doves also confused me for a while. And I don't know why it took me so long to decide whether the big black things I could see were crows, rooks or jackdaws - they're quite different from each other when you know what to look for. But I still can't tell gulls apart at all. And there's a little grey-and-white fellow I see sometimes who is either a marsh tit or a willow tit, but in every book I've read they look completely identical to me so I've no idea how to decide which one he is.
If you can't already identify your neighbourhood birds, I recommend you get a good bird book and start keeping a monthly list. It's not hard. It seems hard at first but once you've identified a regular visitor you never have to do it again. It's free. It's not time-consuming. I do it whilst I'm doing other things, the washing up, for example. And it's a lovely skill to have.