Saturday, 9 January 2010

Sylvia Returns after 12 months.

After returning from our snow walk on Thursday I spotted a greyish shape moving through the Hawthorn. Grabbed the bins and immediately shouted "Mr. Blackcap is back - last seen in the garden 12 months ago"! After what seemed ages he flew up onto the patio and was checking out one of the fat feeders and this gave me the opportinuty for a few snaps through the double-glazed window.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) is a migrant warbler that normally arrives in the UK in April/May and returns to the warmth of Africa in Sept/October but there are an ever increasing number of garden sightings, particularly in the southern UK, during the winter. The question still remains as to whether these are all non-migratory birds or visitors from North-eastern Europe just spending the winter over here.


Hopefully he will return and we might get another chance to play.   FAB

19 comments:

  1. Wow! Frank, these are lovely images.
    Very nice capture.

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  2. What an charming warbler. He just has those sweet eyes that photograph so well. Your photos really compliment his coloring and of course that neat little black cap!!
    I hope he returns so you can get some pixs of him, also!!

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  3. Brilliant clear photos, Frank. I have yet to see a Blackcap.

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  4. Fantastic photos! We had our first Blackcap in the garden last weekend, I'm hoping he visits us again.

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  5. Hi there Frank, great pics. Perhaps he’s look for the Mrs? Tell him she was up in Scotland during December ;-)

    Back on New Year’s Day in 2007 we had our first sighting of a male Blackcap. I struggled with an ID at the time as I’d never seen one. However I was left a comment from a Scottish Bird Club congratulating me on attracting it, He went on to say (at that time) that being in my part of the UK in quite likely came from Germany based on info they had. But yes, as you said it should be in much warmer places like Spain and Africa just now.

    Soon after this sighting a female was spotted. They were only in my garden for about a week and were off again. I noticed the male to quite an aggressive bird towards the others… especially the robin. To be honest I didn’t really mind too much when he left and I’m guessing the other birds were happy.

    We had another sighting of the male only about 6 weeks later but no males have been seen since. A female on the other hand has visited every year since. She tends to come at this time of year at points where it is especially cold! I do enjoy seeing her visit and wonder if it could possibly be the same one as she knows her way about my garden instantly going to hidden feeders.

    I found that the female fits in well feeding with the other birds having no fear alongside squabbling Blackbirds or Starlings. This winter she passed through earlier (we had snow early) on December 28th to a very, very heavily snow covered garden.

    I always have apples on an obelisk at this time of year and that’s always where she heads. She then went to the ground and fed on quarters there. She did not break at all when eating even as it got dark. She was definitely refuelling! Unfortunately, this time she didn’t hang around and hasn’t been since. I’m guessing she was just passing through this time :-(

    Another food the pair of Blackcaps loved to eat was fat cake. It is great that we do get a glimpse of them. I never see them in my garden during the summer, only at this time of year and for a short time. Enjoy your Blackcap visits :-D

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  6. These are real crackers Frank.

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  7. Great shots of the little guy. He's really pretty.

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  8. Frank, what a beautiful Blackcap.

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  9. Cute little bird...too bad we couldn't add photographic sitings to our life lists ;>) as this would be another lifer for me.

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  10. what a cracking little bird! Nice pics too

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  11. Lovely photos of the bird and very interesting observations of the changing patterns of bird migration.

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  12. Cracking shots Frank.
    Still waiting for mine to visit.

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  13. Awww, how cute these photos are Frank. Such a pretty little bird.

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  14. Hi Early Birders.

    Thanks for all your comments on the Blackcap. I'm pleased to report that he has regularly returned to the feeders AND today we also had a visit from MRS Blackcap..but no more pics yet!

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay warm wherever you are. FAB.

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  15. Your blackcap rang a bell - a local professor of biology did an article on Darwin in or audubon newsletter last April, siting the blackcaps wintering in Britain as an instance of rapid evolution. You can find it under "newsletters", April, 2009, at www.sevtaudubon.org

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  16. Chris P. Many thanks for the article link Chris. I am aware of the probability of a 'British' sub species being proven by DNA tests sometime in the future. One of the ways our life lists might increase!

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