Hampshire spotters flock to take part in RSPB birdwatch

SPOTTER Martyn Shears part in the RSPB big garden birdwatch in Warsash. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14209-1)
SPOTTER Martyn Shears part in the RSPB big garden birdwatch in Warsash. Picture: Paul Jacobs (14209-1)
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Pictures by Ellie Pilmoor

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KEEN twitchers took to their gardens to take part in a national bird watching survey.

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch inspired hundreds of people across the area to spend an hour in their garden looking out for different bird species.

Martyn Shears, from Warsash, is an avid birdwatcher and has taken part in the event for many years.

He set up feeders in his front and back garden and kept an eye out for the birds that landed to feed.

During the hour session, which he did on Saturday morning, Martyn spotted eight species.

The 56-year-old was happy with that number as he lives in a semi-urban area.

He said: ‘It was really good just sitting in the garden and keeping an eye out for the birds.

‘I managed to spot eight that landed on the feeders, which I was happy with.

‘People in the countryside will probably see more, which is to be expected.’

One of the birds Martyn saw was the house sparrow, which has seen its numbers decrease in recent years.

‘I couldn’t believe it when I saw the house sparrow because they aren’t normally spotted in this area,’ he added.

‘Their numbers have definitely decreased over the years so it was great to see one.

‘I also saw a blackbird, robin and ducks so a good range.’

Martyn is a volunteer for the RSPB and easily identified the birds.

‘But he said it can be fun for families who don’t know them, to look through books or on the RSPB website.

He said: ‘I know the birds so it was easy for me to put them in the survey.

‘But for families who don’t, it can be interesting trying to see what species they are.

‘The whole Big Garden Birdwatch is a fun activity for families because it gets them out of the house and into nature.’

As well as the weekend survey, schools are being invited to take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch which started on January 20 and finishes on February 14.

During this period, schools can pick any hour they want to dedicate to bird watching.

The survey provides a snapshot for the RSPB on how different kinds of birds are faring. For more information on the school scheme visit rspb.org.uk.