If you missed the story of how the day unfolded, you’ll find that in the blog below, but this piece is about the people who took part and the amazing range of birds we saw between us on the day from around the world.
Approximately 300 of you took part, representing 150 gardens, across 23 countries, spanning Europe, North America, Central America, South America, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Caribbean.
It joined together beginner birdwatchers and those with years of experience, people living in suburbia with a view from their apartment to people who overlooked lush rain forest, or had estuary views. This diverse mix of people, countries and habitats made for one of the most interesting days of my life and for sure, one incredible bird list.
Map showing the UK coverage and gardens from the rest of the world.
Some wonderful sightings were shared on the day, sadly far too many to mention in this blog but here are some examples.
Tim and Penny Somerville had surprise visitors arrive in their Cambridgeshire garden, actually in their pond to be precise. A pair of Mandarin ducks dropped in long enough for them to get a photograph and the only record of this species anywhere in the world on the day. They had thought they’d peaked too early with a visit from a Ring Ouzel in early April as well, obviously I’ve asked for first refusal if they decide to move house!
Mandarin Male in the pond, female on the bank above
Our best tally of birds for the UK came from Bernie Beck, who’s garden overlooks the tidal area between the mainland and the Gower Peninsular in South Wales, helping Bernie to clock up an impressive 54 species on the day.
Bernie Becks impressive day list
Single records of UK species
Not far behind Bernie was Paul Rogers who managed 50 from his Anglesey garden and in fact had our only records of Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Northern Wheatear and Black-tailed Godwit.
Others who recorded unique sightings for the UK total were Geoff Dobbs (Whinchat), Karen & Richard Cowley (Lesser Redpoll), John Poyner (Dipper), Lynn Demaine (Slavonian Grebe), Wies Dykstra (Marsh Harrier), Izzy Fry (Marsh Tit), John MacFarlane (Pied Flycatcher), Kris Webb (Shag, Kittiwake & Guillemot) and Duncan MacDonald (Pink-footed Geese & Parrot Crossbill). Some very impressive birds there folks.
Izzy Frys photo of a Marsh Tit from Saturday
Impressive numbers from the rest of the world
Many of the submissions we had from abroad were provided by the excellent guides we partner with for our overseas wildlife watching holidays, so its no wonder they came up with the goods, even though they were confined to their own properties for the day.
Katinka & Will clocked up an impressive 40 in Honduras, Dhammi in Sri Lanka topped that with 60, including a few endemic species like Yellow-fronted Barbet.
Yellow-fronted Barbet, only found in Sri Lanka
Elsie put in three sessions on the day from her garden in Brazil to record an incredible 66 species, while Frank in SW Portugal managed 47 including local specialities like Iberian (Green) Woodpecker and Iberian Magpie.
JJ’s compound in The Gambia, much like my garden here in Worcestershire, has few avian visitors, so he was reliant on flyovers and identifying birds by call, so I was very happy with his list total of 47 species. Istvan in Hungary weighed in with 33 species, including Whiskered Tern, nice!
We had Both Jordi in the Pyrenees and Tosh near Malaga covering Spain from either end, who clocked up 51 species between them, including an impressive range of raptors. Lammergeier, Black, Egyptian & Griffon Vultures, Booted, Short-toed & Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Common & Honey Buzzards, Common Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, not to mention Little and European Scops Owls. Wow!
We had two observers in Finland based in Helsinki, so species were limited, but I had to share this shot from Mervi Hartikka’s apparent of Barnacle Geese, which had stopped to feed during their migration north on the local park.
Barnacle Geese in Helsinki
Tobago managed 38 species courtesy of Desmond, our Cuffie River based guide and we had two representatives for Trinidad who racked up a very impressive 86 species. We were pretty lucky to have Martin Kenefick on board in Trinidad, co-author of the field guide for T&T, who’s back garden is the Asa Wright Nature Centre, so it was no surprise when he posted quite a list. Birds like Scaled Pigeon, Bearded Bellbird and Oilbird were unlikely to crop up anywhere else.
One of my pictures of Scaled Pigeon from Trinidad a year or two back
We had single representatives in various countries, starting with Cyprus, where Jane Stylianou managed 10 species, Geoff Laight in Serbia got some nice birds among his 26, Tracey Jennings totalled 26 from her Singapore garden and a very nice sum of 38 species from Ysbrand Brouwers in Holland. Fil Hide identified a nice 42 species from Zambia and it was 12 from our French garden where Pam Shaheen and Philip King were keeping watch.
Australia submitted 26 species across four gardens, in Italy three plots produced 33 and although we had just 4 gardens taking part across the USA, they were well spread out. From Michael Jewel in Texas, Judy Fey in Washington State and both Joyce Bond and Carol Anderson covering gardens in California, they managed 53 species between them.
The full list of the species that were recorded worldwide is below in alphabetical order and begins with Acorn Woodpecker, one of 21 Woodpecker species sighted on the day across 14 participating countries.
To sum up the diversity of the day, two birds that are never likely to meet appear next to each other on the alphabetical list, Kookaburra and Lammergeier. That certainly brought a smile to my face as I collated the sightings from you all.
Full Species list from May 9th, 2020
If anyone would like a copy of the bird list, or the map of participants as a memory of what you took part in on the day, don’t hesitate to drop me an email and I’ll forward that to you.
The total raised for the RSPB around May 9th is just short of £1,700, it would be great to get this to £2,000, so please share this blog, or pass on the Just Giving link and let’s see what we can achieve.
I’d like to wrap this up by saying a huge thank you to everyone who took part. Not just by submitting sightings and/or donating to the amazing amount of money raised so far, but for also sharing my posts and helping to create a real buzz on the day. The event certainly did what I intended it to do and gave us all something positive and interesting to focus on for the day.
Below is a list of everyone who submitted the sightings that took us to that amazing total of 577 species of birds seen in 24hrs on May 9th, 2020. Wow!
Many thanks to all of you, mentioned below