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Birds spotted by twitchers in year-long survey of parks

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 16, 2013

  • A robin

  • A nuthatch

  • Spotted: A great spotted woodpecker and, below, a wren

  • E04 080710 wildlife photo comp si dani1 WONDERFUL WILDLIFE: Photographer Martin Phipps captured this wren in his garden, and other gardeners are being invited to do the same

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EAGLE-EYED birdwatchers have spotted more than 50 species in the town centre.

A year-long survey of wild birds has been carried out by Cheltenham Bird Club volunteers.

They found 50 species in Pittville Park and 35 species in Hatherley Park.

And nature-lovers have been encouraged to try and spot more of our feathered friends during the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch event on January 26 and 27.

Winged wonders recorded in the survey included woodland species such as treecreepers, nuthatch, robin, wren and great spotted woodpecker.

They also spotted 14 species of water birds.

Alan Richards, from Cheltenham Bird Club, said: "Some of these results have surprised me.

"I never expected to see a bullfinch or whitethroat in our parks.

"One day I hope to find a kingfisher."

More common garden birds, such as blackbirds, house sparrows, finches and members of the tit family also featured strongly.

Janice Payne, community ranger, said: "Both parks offer a variety of habitats which are appealing to birds from lakes to woodland and grassland."

Chairman of Gloucestershire RSPB, David Cramp, said: "If rivers freeze, you could well see a kingfisher.

"It seems to be a waxwing winter in Cheltenham though."

He said people wanting to help birds survive winter should put seed or fruit in their gardens, but avoid bread as it attracts gulls and pigeons.

Gloucestershire RSPB will celebrate its 40th anniversary on April 12 with a talk by Springwatch presenter Iolo Williams.

For tickets, call 01242 620281.

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  • nomossystone  |  January 18 2013, 5:37PM

    Hello, dibblebibble, they're very discerning these birds, my guess is, they find many different gardens to feed from, we think we are doing them a favour feeding them -- they thinkl they are doing us a favour by visiting us -- and they are. The goldfinches and sparrows that visit my garden stop visiting about September, I've never quite understood this, though on checking a deserted feeder I found the damp has now made the remaining seed sprout, and a little autumn feeder cleaning was needed. Also the birds are eating lots of berries from the hedgerows at this time, hence the deserted feeders. April and may are the times when the young ones have been born and and this is the time when you will see the parents fly in with their families -- I have noticed three generations of sparrows fly in, -- amazing creatures all of them! This afternoon a blackbird spent nearly half an hour pecking into the deep snow on my garden table, fresh seed and fat was covered over in minutes, but not to be deterred he carried on with the help of a lone sparrow, it's great to watch these lovely creatures.

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  • dibblebibble  |  January 16 2013, 8:32AM

    I have a seed hanger from my window, (I live in a 4th floor flat), and have for years seen dozens of Sparrows, Blue Tits and Robins around the back area. The feeder would be empty in 2 or 3 days, guaranteed...until around the middle of last year Since around June 2012, the bird seed feeder is still full. I have only seen 1 Sparrow around October, 1 Robin around 6 weeks ago, and a pair of blue tits roughly the same time as the Robin. That's all. For months there have just been no common small birds around here for some reason. I never hear the dawn chorus anymore around here either. It's all very strange.

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