Winter birding in Southampton: University Birdwatch Challenge update

The start of term at the end of September saw the beginning of the 2nd year of the University Birdwatch Challenge. This year we’ve got more staff taking part, which is good, but currently less students (I plan to try resolving this…). With about a week before the next term, our list for the academic year is on 32 and counting, with the majority of species being recorded on the Highfield campus.

As with last year, our species count is far lower than other universities due to our location but it’s still interesting to look out for the nature present within a city. We’ve already seen most of the common garden birds such as robins, dunnocks, blackbirds and the tit species, but also less common species as well.

A stream runs through our main campus, and there are a few small ponds, which means we also have a few wetland species present – moorhens, mallards and grey wagtails.

Moorhen in the "reedbed"

Moorhen in the “reed bed”

During the autumn migration, a flock of redwing were seen over our main campus. I remember last year (well, actually January 2014), there were small flocks on campus so I’m hoping they return in time for exams, and I wonder what other winter migrants might be lurking in the city…

In my last blog post, I wrote about how the latest addition to the UBC list were some house sparrows. Since then, one of the PhD students had a nuthatch and green woodpecker in Chilworth, one of the other campuses over Christmas.

Green woodpecker (Mathias Deleau)

Green woodpecker (Mathias Deleau)

Nuthatch (Mathias Deleau)

Nuthatch (Mathias Deleau)

In non bird news, there have also been a few roe deer lurking around Chilworth – if only they could count too!

Roe deer (Mathias Deleau)

Roe deer (Mathias Deleau)

Wonder what we’ll see next year? Birding in a city isn’t quite the same as wandering around your local wetland nature reserve, for example,  but it is interesting and reminds you that nature is everywhere and tries to coexist in our busy, built up towns and cities.

Species recorded this academic year:

  1. Carrion Crow
  2. Robin
  3. Jackdaw
  4. Magpie
  5. Moorhen
  6. Mallard
  7. Pied Wagtail
  8. Blackbird
  9. Herring Gull
  10. Blue Tit
  11. Goldfinch
  12. Woodpigeon
  13. Feral Pigeon
  14. Black-headed Gull
  15. Dunnock
  16. Redwing
  17. Greenfinch
  18. Sparrowhawk
  19. Mistle Thrush
  20. Grey Wagtail
  21. Stock Dove
  22. Coal Tit
  23. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  24. Goldcrest
  25. Chaffinch
  26. Jay
  27. Long-tailed Tit
  28. Great Tit
  29. Peregrine Falcon
  30. House Sparrow
  31. Green Woodpecker
  32. Nuthatch

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