Feb 102015

blackcapEveryone seems to be seeing winter blackcaps in the their gardens. Steve and Hazel sent me this photograph of a female at a bird feeder. I didn’t know that blackcaps used garden feeders. All of the ones I have seen in my garden have been feeding on ivy or holly berries – and difficult to see. If you want to know a little more about them try this link to the BTO. Steve and Hazel also sent this photograph of a sparrowhasparrowhawkwk on the garden fence. Only twenty five years ago neither the blackcap nor the sparrowhawk could have been photographed like this in a garden (and I am not referring to the introduction of digital cameras!). The overwintering behaviour of blackcaps is quite recent and twenty five years ago the sparrowhawk population was only just recovering from the effects of pesticide (DDT) poisoning. Good news then.

We are told that birdrobins (and other wildlife) enrich our lives. In that case Sharon must be a millionaire! She sent us this –

“Hi Malcolm and Sally, had to tell you about my walk yesterday along the Hythe canal at the country park. What an amazing place for a walk, you have to put it on your agenda could spend probably 3 hours there, no facilities but a few great pubs nearby. Quite a few dog walkers but not noisy ones if you know what I mean. I saw a kingfisher twice flying just above the water of the canal. Also robins so tame they came even nearer to pose for a picture think if I had a few mealworm they would eat out my hand. Also a dunnock very busy feeding but was so close by was almost at my feet. Heard a woodpecker. A moorhen, mallard, lots of rooks. Apparently Herons nest on the hill but no sign of any yesterday. Blue tits and great tits, a few blackbirds. I will definitely be going back. Attaching the friendliest robin.”

Last week we went to Haysden Country Park near Tonbridge. Irene found us this male bullfinch – my first for about two years!

Thanks to Steve, Hazel, Sharon and Irene.



 Posted by on 10 February 2015 at 9:33 pm

  4 Responses to “More Blackcaps, Kingfisher and a Bullfinch”

Comments (4)
  1. Whoops – and thanks to Sally!

  2. Just returned from Devon where we found 4 bullfinch in the same tree! 2 male, 2 female. We watched them feeding for ages. I hadn’t seen one for over a year either, so to find 4 was quite amazing.

  3. Hi Malcolm,
    Just to add to the evidence, we have had male and female Blackcap in our Meopham garden all winter. We see the female regularly every day, but the male less often. Initially they were feeding on our Guelder Rose berries (Viburnum Opulus) , but now they have been all eaten, they feed off the broken sunflower hearts that have dropped into the trays under the feeders after the messy Greenfinch and Goldfinch. They are very feisty and once on the feeder they vigorously defend there territory with open beaks.
    The Guelder Roses also attract Song Thrushes and again we see at least one every day and sometimes two. This shrub is excellent for attracting birds like Thruhes and winter Redwing and dare I say it Waxwings, which over the last 30 years we have seen here on about 4 occasions. They are cheap to buy, easy to grow even in a small garden and bring rich rewards in white flowers, red berries and most importantly birds you don’t often see in gardens.
    Kind regards
    Rosemary and Stuart
    thanks for this – Malcolm

  4. My mum has had a male blackcap in her little garden in Istead Rise. It was enjoying berries and the company of several house sparrows. Such delightful birds to see and hear sing when they get going in the spring.

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