Monday, February 02, 2009


Typical! Last week I took part in the RSPB survey of garden birds and the types of birds that visited my garden where the same as last year:



brambling (1 caught up with chaffinches)




collared doves

wood pigeon

song thrush



And then this Saturday I was looking out the window at the feeders and spotted something more unusual - a male blackcap. My bird book tells me that these are usually summer visitors, with a few birds overwintering in the SW of England. However I did a search on Flicker and discovered a whole thread about them visiting gardens as far north as Elgin this winter. Mine is living in the ivy beside the feeders and he is quite a stroppy wee individual, rushing out to chase off
ground-feeding chaffinches - only the robin seems able to stand up to his "attacks". I just hope he gets through this cold snap in one piece.

Here is a snatched JPEG of him, he is a lovely slatey-grey, with a shock of black on his head, a bit like Elvis. He's hard to photograph as he's always on the move.

I also been busy with the "big garden", activating our page on the community website, and then linking it across to a new blog set up under a different identity than my own blog, as I want to keep them separate. I've also link us to the BBC Breathing Places website, as we got some funding for them to develop a small orchard. You can see it all here - including some wobbly video on the two areas we are currently working on. I used my monopod to support the Flip camcorder, but a bit like President Ford I found it hard to walk, talk and film all at once -I promise to get better!

Since shooting video the gardener and I have planted two small crab apple trees beside the new hedge, in time I hope they'll share part of their canopies with the cottage garden. They are malus baccata, which is an early 18th centuary introduction from Siberia, which is a tad out in terms of dates, but it is healthier than our native crab and it's a species tree and not a modern cultivar.


Blogger Colin Will said...

Lovely bird - never seen one.

11:25 am  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

oh that's a fine blackcap, well done for capturing him. I've seen and heard them quite often but they are very elusive to get a good view of. More and more of them are overwinterign in Scotland.

12:34 pm  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks -he was hard to catch, he darts in and out of the shrubbery very fast - very reminiscent of a robin in his movements

3:30 pm  
Blogger Lucy said...

I'm very impressed with your blackcap, both his visits and your capture of him! I see and hear them in the summer out on the coast paths, in the blackthorn.

I see lots of bramblings out in the fields often mixed up with chaffinches and greenfinches, but they never venture into the garden. I'm envious of your siskins too.

7:03 am  
Blogger apprentice said...

Thanks L:ucy. Yesi only get bramblings mixed up with chaffinches. I'd like to get bullfinches more regularly, but then I think of my plum tree and think perhaps their very occasional visits are for the best.

Siskiins are getting very common here -the greenfinches bully them, but they love the nyger seed, which the greenfinches don't, so they get a good feed anyway.

3:55 pm  

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