I’m not really a bird watcher, birder, twitcher, or whatever the term is, but we really enjoy watching the host of song birds that visit our garden.
We are lucky enough to have a back garden which takes in a lot of farmland, hills, moor and young woodland. It makes our small plot seem huge, and we see a wide variety of common birds. We put in feeders to help, and there is a lot of diverse habitat which supports many species. I have, over the years, noted what we have seen, and it amounts to quite a list. Usually the birds are common species, but now and again we get something relatively exotic. In addition to the robins, tits and blackbirds, we have had jays, a grey-wagtail and a rather dumpy sparrow hawk. We currently have a family (a host?) of sparrows – around thirty I think – which have turned up since the drop in numbers of finches that we used to have in diversity and abundance.
But today, there was a new bird which caught my eye. It was hopping about on a young tree branch, looking a bit like a cross between a dunnock and red-breastless robin. I grabbed the binoculars, and looked more closely. Grey-brown back, lighter underneath, decent tail, beady eye. And a hat. A russet coloured hat. Then off it zoomed, into the trees at the bottom, by the stream.
I looked it up, and it is a blackcap, a species of warbler. The RSPB website shows us this, which is exactly what I saw.
I think it is a female, or possibly a juvenile, probably of German origin (they can tell by tracking ringed birds), and probably still here because of the mild weather we are having. The abundance of food, both natural and supplemented, is surely an added attraction, and we have a lot of berries this year.
I have registered it on the BirdTrack website, as the RSPB suggested, and look forward to seeing it, and it’s family, again soon.