Friday, 27 January 2017

27th January - In the Dark Time of the Year

A very cold week, with plenty of daytime fog.  Today has seen the fog lift, and overnight there was some rain that froze as the skies cleared at dawn.  One highlight of hthe week has been that the Song Thrushes have started to sing, on both Tuesday and Wednesday I saw two birds, one in Lymington Bottom and the other along Brislands in song at the top of the Ash trees.  Another first year sighting was a Moorhen that scrambled across the road by the frozen pond, it was clearly searching the leaf litter along with the blackbirds for food.

The garden too, has turned up a first for the year, and the first for some time, the last time one was present was January 2015.  A female Blackcap, resplendent with a chestnut red cap was seen at first on the feeders, and then in the tree.


She would wait her turn with the Goldfinches


And while she did she went through some very vigorous exercises and flapping her wings.


However when finally she did make a move back to the feeders she was not greeted well.  This male Siskin clearly not happy she was moving in.


Last year's mild winter did not force the Blackcaps into the garden, prior to that they had been regular winter visitors with at least a pair turning up.  We shall have to see if she is joined by a male as the winter goes on.

Up to now I have only been able to catch the Siskins on the feeders, but today they treated me to some shows in the branches which always look better in the photographs.

This looks like a first winter male just beginning to get its adult plumage.


Here you can see the fine bill, that while being a seed eater allows it to take advantage of fine seeds such as thistle, and pine cones.  It is slightly finer than that of the Goldfinch.


Here a more advanced plumaged male.


The black cap distinguishing it from the heavier, and stockier Greenfinch


We have had at least four individuals in the garden, and I hope these, and the Blackcap stick around over the weekend as it is the RSPB Garden Birdwatch.  So if you have the time to give an hour watching your garden please do so it is for a good cause, and a very enjoyable way to spend your time.

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