Your Garden – May 2020

Posts about sightings in your garden during the coronavirus lockdown period.


  1. Mick Potts
    31st May 2020

    29th. May

    our garden, not a bird, but, a Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macrogalossum stellatarum. Too quick for me at the time of the sighting, hope to get an image if sticks around

  2. Peter
    31st May 2020

    Red Kite over the garden this afternnon. There have been reports of a pair hanging about locally for a few days now.

  3. John
    30th May 2020

    Spent a couple of hours in the garden this afternoon contemplating the answers to the quiz that Colin had just distributed. Looking east from Hungerford Avenue towards Crewe Green roundabout, there were a couple of Swift flying about. On one occasion I heard their scream and they came together – copulation? Later I saw 3 together in the distance, perhaps from the Haslington colony. Other bird of note was a Rook which flew past & landed on a neighbour’s TV aerial.
    At 3:30 a medium-sized raptor, probably a falcon, flew from the south. It was fairly high up, circled at least once – it briefly dangled its legs before continuing north and out of view. I had my binoculars on it, but it was all in less than a minute. I scribbled some notes down: – pale underside of body with pointed wings, longish tail with single dark band at tail tip which was briefly fanned out. I thought I saw brown colouring at the lower belly/legs ( but that was probably me wanting to turn it into a Hobby! ). I rushed indoors & picked up my Collins but can’t ID it from my description. Any thoughts?

  4. Peter
    25th May 2020

    Mike posted a couple of days ago about changes in sightings in his garden … well, for us corvids are a regular feature, well crows anyway which we have in the garden every day; there are two rookeries nearby but we only see flyovers; magpies used to be every day, now they are occasional; ravens are seen fairly often and in particular in top of our next-door neighbours scotch pines and even in our own sycamore tree; jackdaws were only ever flyovers but since lockdown, they are in the garden most days and this afternoon we had eight. Maybe its ‘corvid-20’ rather than ‘covid-19’
    Collared Doves used to every day but are now occasional, perhaps because we cut down their favourite tree.
    Our blue tit nest box with a camera has never been very successful. This year with seven eggs laid, only four hatched but it does look like all four could fledge in the next few days.

  5. Colin
    25th May 2020

    Around 18-00 today I put a handful of mealworms in a dish of water on the lawn; within a few minutes there were around 55 starlings on all the feeders and on the lawn. Surprisingly I could only pick out 3 adults amongst them. Five minutes of frenzied activity and the birds flew off , with not a single mealworm left.

  6. Colin
    24th May 2020

    A group of at least 20 house martins (my first of the year) just flew in at 10-30 and were busy feeding, flying along the edge of a line of very large trees in a neighbour’s garden. After 20 minutes they all disappeared together – presumably they had eaten all of the flying insects!

  7. John
    24th May 2020

    Last week at home in the garden:
    on Tuesday I noticed a pair of Blackbirds collecting nest material and flying to a particular spot on my fence where there is vegetation – nest-building? This behaviour has been repeated all week.
    On Friday, I was walking down the street heading for Macon Meadows and a female Sparrowhawk flew past me, banked round and flew in through the gap between my house & my neighbours. No doubt heading for my feeders!
    Yesterday, I saw my first juv Robin here plus an adult Great Tit with 2 juvs. Also notable, for me, was a singing Greenfinch

  8. Peter
    23rd May 2020

    2 Stock Dove briefly in the garden today

  9. John
    21st May 2020

    Not an actual ‘NocVis’ but as I closed the bedroom curtains at 23:50 last night, I heard what I’m pretty sure was Oystercatcher calls!

  10. Peter
    20th May 2020

    A bit of a rarity in the garden this afternoon … female White-faced Darter. Should be in Whixall Moss.

    Our garden dragonfly list over the last two days is now; Broad-bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, White-faced Darter, Beautiful Demoiselle, Azure Damselfly and Large Red Damselfly.

    Ed: see Peter’s dragonfly photo in our gallery

  11. Mike Tonks
    19th May 2020

    I’m reflecting on bird activity in our small Sandbach garden.
    Firstly, breeding birds. During the past five years, the birdbox has been used only once – by Blue Tits. This year it is occupied by Great Tits. In addition, we have a Blackbird’s nest in the hedge at the side of the house (a first) and a Woodpigeon’s nest in a conifer next door (also a first).
    Secondly, feeding birds. We feed birds all the year. This year there have been some differences. Song Thrush is normally a very infrequent visitor – most years we don’t see one at all. This year a Song Thrush has been present every day for the last 7 days. This year, another regular is a Carrion Crow, which we’ve not seen in previous years. It looks rather out of place in our small garden. Also, single visits from a Jackdaw and a Stock Dove, again not seen before.
    These are small but noticeable changes. I wonder if this is because there is less traffic (vehicles and people) and so less disturbance. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve spent more time indoors. Probably both. Has anyone else noticed similar changes in their garden?

  12. Glyn Jones
    18th May 2020

    In my garden
    3 Collared Doves, 3 Wood Pigeons, 4 Blackbirds including a juvenile, 12+ House Sparrows and a pair of Bullfinches sitting on my birdfeeder, fantastic!!!

  13. John
    16th May 2020

    A Site Guide to the SECOS Recording Area

    Now that the ‘Lockdown’ restrictions are being relaxed and many may be wanting to spread your wings and go birdwatching, an update to the main birdwatching locations in the SECOS Recording Area is available in the Publications section of this website

    Ed: the booklet can be downlaoded here

  14. Colin
    13th May 2020

    with regard to Roy’s starling Qs. The metal ring on the starling leg is almost certainly a BTO ring. All bird ringing in the UK is controlled by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and is very strictly controlled by a licence. This involves the attachment of a small, individually numbered metal tag to the leg of a wild bird to enable individual identification. This helps in keeping track of the movements of the bird and its life history. The subsequent recapture or recovery of the bird can provide information on migration, longevity, mortality, population, territoriality, feeding behaviour, and other aspects that are studied by ornithologists. So it’s interesting Roy but of much more value if you can read the alpha-numeric code on the ring.

    with regard to the ice skating antics, I have not seen anything like that. My starlings have no problem clinging to a suet block with one foot whilst eating!

  15. Roy Broughton
    13th May 2020

    Two questions about Starlings.
    1) We have just had one feeding in the garden with a silver ring on its right leg-does anyone know if l can identify anything from that?
    2) l put some dried mealworms soaked in water on a table with a thick glass top. The Sparrows, Jackdaws, Blackbirds, BlueTits, Great Tits, Robins and Magpies all land easily and can walk about picking up the food with no problem. Only the Starlings appear to find it rather slippery.
    Anyone any idea why that is? Is it something to do with their leg structure?

  16. SECOS
    13th May 2020

    Mick and Mary Potts report that a Great Spotted Woodpecker is a regular visitor to their garden. You can see a video in our gallery at

  17. Colin
    11th May 2020

    Four starlings on the lawn this evening including two just out of the nest. We have three nests in nearby houses so it looks like the start of the usual starling invasion! However I do love them, they are really entertaining especially when they all try to get in the small bird bath together. Whilst checking them I then got a brief view of a goldcrest coming in for a bath, my first view for a while although they usually nest in a neighbour’s garden

  18. Peter
    11th May 2020

    Our first Blue Tit hatched this morning … watched the female eat the egg shell actually from around the youngster as it was emerging

  19. John
    7th May 2020

    My first post to this section of the blog… for the past couple of weeks, while in my garden, I’ve been watching the local House Sparrow either coming and going from nest sites in the roof space or the foliage in the neighbourhood. One activity caught my attention: birds alighting from perches, flying straight up in the air briefly then dropping again. This was repeated many times and by different birds. At first I thought it was courtship, but looking closer, they were catching flies! The local Starling appear to be using the same tactic. A pair of Magpie have completed their nest but neither appears to be sitting. There are multiple Jackdaw nests in the neighbours’ chimney pots –but not in mine!
    Yesterday afternoon I heard the distinctive call of a Raven. It flew gracefully by from south to north.
    Today while watching a Buzzard, 2 Swift flew across my line of sight. The first for me in 2020. Bob, in Birch Ave, yesterday reported 2 over his garden, I’m south of Hungerford Rd so possibly the same birds? Pairs bred last year in nearby Vincent St, so these could be from that small colony.

  20. Roy Broughton
    6th May 2020

    At last, my first sighting of the year of my favourite bird- two Swifts flew over our bungalow in Basford mid afternoon!

  21. peter roberts
    5th May 2020

    Wahey, our first House Martin’s and there are are loads of gnats for them to go at.

  22. Mike Tonks
    4th May 2020

    This evening (20:00), our small Sandbach garden had a brief visit from a Stock Dove, a new species for the garden. It landed on the lawn and walked purposely towards some seed placed below the bird feeders. Before it could reach the seed, it was chased away by our resident Wood Pigeon – round the garden twice, up onto the roof, into a conifer and away. Yet another Stock Dove sighting!

  23. Janet jones
    4th May 2020

    Just had Pr of Stock Doves in Alsager Garden ist in 40 yearsJanet

  24. Graham
    3rd May 2020

    At around 2.30, enjoying a coffee in the sun, I was alerted to the sound of a crow harassing a Sprawk above Abbeyfields House in Sandbach. They soon separated and the Sprawk – clearly a female – flew NW across my field of view, only to be joined by another similar sized Sprawk. On reaching Abbey Road, a third Sprawk, happily circling, appeared in my bins – I’m pretty sure it was a male as it certainly looked smaller, albeit a little further away. They were soon lost beyond the rooftops.

    A few minutes later, one of the local Buzzards appeared to my south with (another?) male Sprawk in attendance. Whilst watching this half-hearted interchange, a third bird appeared and was pretty aggressive towards the Sprawk – a Hobby! The Sprawk retreated, the Buzzard just circled innocently, and the Hobby did what they do best – aerial mastery – before leaving NW.

  25. Peter
    3rd May 2020

    Sitting in the garden having a mid-morning cup of coffee and watching the rather gloomy sky thinking I’d recorded my first martins of the year only to realise that the group of 20 or so were in fact Starlings behaving as though they were hirundines.

  26. SECOS
    1st May 2020

    The first Sunday in May is dedicated as International Dawn Chorus Day.

    For a truly uplifting experience, I would highly recommend setting an alarm clock and taking a seat in your garden just before it begins getting light. If getting out of bed early is not for you or you do not have access to a garden, simply open the bedroom window and let the bird song from the streets wash over you.

    Often it is the robin that can be heard first. This species can even be heard singing in the dark, triggered by the presence of artificial lighting. Sometimes people mistakenly think they can hear the song of a nightingale. Both species have a wonderful warbling song with dips and trills that speak of all the promise of Spring. However, the nightingale is now a rare species in the UK; the robin is a common and endearing early-morning sound in your neighbourhood.

  27. SECOS
    1st May 2020

    Graham Green thought it might be nice to share this year’s residence of his owl box. The box has been in place for several years now. Last year they fledged three owlets but the norm is two. It is easy to identify the male from the female at the moment due to the brooding patch on her tummy, where she has plucked her feathers to give direct body warmth to her eggs and chicks. The young usually start to appear out from the box about the 2nd week of May.
    Ed: Graham’s excellent Tany Owl pictures are viewable in our Garden gallery

  28. Colin
    1st May 2020

    May 1st is Dawn Chorus Day, so this morning at 5 o’clock I was listening to a loud dawn chorus around my small garden, with Blackbirds being particularly loud and lovely to listen to. Then after 10 minutes I rolled over in bed and went back to sleep!!

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