Another cold and bitter night, but the temperature never fell below freezing, the cold being emphasised by the damp and dreary conditions. The morning though saw clear conditions and some weak sun, and this was enough to bring an old friend back into the garden to feed on the apples speared on to the branches of the trees.
While I watched a Blue Tit creeping through the branches as I drank my coffee first thing, I noticed it was joined by a larger bird. The black head was distinctive, and finally it slowly revealed its full self as it started to consume the soft flesh of the apples I had put in the tree.
A male Blackcap, it then sat quite confidently feeding on the apple in the morning sunshine. For once there were few other birds around to upset it.
After awhile it moved on to another apple piece but this one had something other than the fruit to interest the Blackcap. In the week I had smeared the branch and apple with the left over of the peanut butter, and this was very much to its liking, preferring the butter to the apple.
Finally it was disturbed by a Starling and it flew off, but I am sure I will see more of this bird, and hopefully it will be joined by a female as seems to be the way. The apples are a strong attraction, and even more so is the peanut butter.
The Blue Tit had stuck around too, and moved to the top of the tree to pose so nicely for me.
The House Sparrows are late risers, emerging from the leylandi hedge to catch the morning rays as the sun manages to creep above the houses and light up the hedge
Their tactic is to sit and watch, they are quite prepared to use the feeders, but only when the tactic of waiting to see if the larger users that tend to monopolise them drop food to the ground that they then swoop down to pick up.
There are two Robins in the garden, and they seem to have decided to split the garden,down the middle, this means that each has a selection of feeders to use. This one was making sure its rival knew its place was not in his tree.
The garden activity is not that intense yet, but with the colder mornings it has stepped up. It was enough though to keep the Woodpigeon interested, it sitting and watching from its perch at the top of the next door roof.
In the last week I was lucky to find some very old friends that were a huge inspiration for me when I was young and starting my interest in birds and wildlife. Along with the Observers book of British Birds these Ladybird books became the bibles I turned to. I poured over the text and pictures, I could identify every bird, name them and tell you all about them.
My favourite though was the one in the middle, "What to Look For in Winter". The cover is a wonderful picture, bringing so much into a small scene. The magic of a winter's day with wildlife I longed to see. Look into the book and there is a lovely text that describes the events of the season, accompanied by wonderful plates that just packed so much in. Sub-consciously I wonder if they were early beginnings for this blog? It is just wonderful to have these books around once again, its like those early inspirations just coming back again