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The Big Garden Birdwatch at Trinity

A team of Trinity Gardeners will take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2022 this weekend, 28-30 January. They will spend part of their lunchbreak counting how many of each species visit the College’s gardens.

Encouraged by enthusiastic birders Deputy Head Gardener Karen Wells and Apprentice Gardener Harriet Bradnock, this is Trinity’s second Big Garden Birdwatch.

Four gardeners standing in front of a summer house

Each year thousands of people across the UK count the number of birds they see (not flying over, they must land) in their garden, from their balcony or in a park for one hour and report the results to the RSPB, which helps the charity build a national picture of bird population trends.

Karen Wells said:

As a gardener you are never far from a bird. From calls and song to stirring foliage and feathers floating down, we hear or see many species each day.

The Gardens Team at Trinity look after a 36-acre site, a mile from end to end. The varying habitats and diverse plants are a wildlife haven, providing food, shelter, water, nesting material and nesting boxes. Working on site you get to know where you might find a particular species of bird.

In Burrell’s Field we know a woodpecker favours the Pond Meadow; blue tits choose the Chinese red birch; spotted this week a little egret shyly shares Bin Brook with the resolute moorhens as coal tits whizz above from one tree to another. Onto the Fellows’ Garden bundles of long-tailed tits deck the trees and chiffchaffs are heard but rarely seen.

 

As well as Karen and Harriet, who is a keen artist, this year’s team will include Lee Froggatt, Charo Costa Canovas, Leah Collins and Sarah Squires.

Coloured pencil drawings of a canada goose, long-tailed tit, magpie, blue tit and moorhen
Harriet’s drawings of birds seen during the 2021 event.

Over the years a total of 58 species of bird have been seen at Trinity. Head Gardener Tom Hooijenga said:

We are working continuously to improve the biodiversity in the College gardens, and a healthy bird population benefits and enriches us all.

 

Anyone can take part in this national event, whether you have a garden, balcony or local park nearby. The Big Garden Birdwatch has more details.

Deputy Head Gardener Karen Wells writes about the gardener–bird relationship at Trinity

As a gardener you are never far from a bird. From calls and song to stirring foliage and feathers floating down, we hear or see many species each day.

The Gardens Team at Trinity look after a 36-acre site, a mile from end to end. The varying habitats and diverse plants are a wildlife haven, providing food, shelter, water, nesting material and nesting boxes. Working on site you get to know where you might find a particular species of bird.

In Burrell’s Field we know a woodpecker favours the Pond Meadow; blue tits choose the Chinese red birch; spotted this week a little egret shyly shares Bin Brook with the resolute moorhens as coal tits whizz above from one tree to another. Onto the Fellows’ Garden bundles of long-tailed tits deck the trees and chiffchaffs are heard but rarely seen.

Over Queen’s Road the grey heron awaits, motionless and seemingly unaware of our presence. Along the Avenue crows, jackdaws and jays are joined by various gulls, a treecreeper and more long-tailed tits.

If you are really lucky when crossing the bridge from the top of the Avenue towards the limes you may see a kingfisher flash by. I seem to miss it and instead see mute swans and a little grebe on the river.

The main courts in College are frequented by house martins, goldfinches, pied wagtails, to name a few; skyward, the peregrine falcon calls. As a gardener cultivating the soil an astute robin or blackbird is often a close companion, ready to tuck into the earthy hamper.

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