That time of year

Spring appears to have now definitely sprung, but before that the weather was very cold and many songbirds were coming to the garden to feed. One of the regular species was the blackcap pair which arrived during the fierce weather after Christmas and left around three or four weeks ago when the weather started to warm up.

The female blackcap – easily identified by her brown cap

There are two types of blackcap in the UK: those that migrate to sub-Saharan Africa to overwinter and those which migrate here from central Europe to overwinter. So I guess my pair, which oddly I rarely ever saw in the garden at the same time, were European visitors sampling our balmy winter weather.

Even though the female was the first blackcap I saw in the garden she visited nowhere near as often as the male and it took me a while to get a good portrait of her, but I managed to get these just before they disappeared to enjoy their springtime and rear their chicks in Germany or Poland.

Constant visitors all the way through the winter and still resident are my pair of chaffinch which are always welcome to brighten up a dull day.

Cock chaffinch resplendent in full courtship plumage

…and the charmed lady

The chaffinch pair probably have a nest nearby with chicks in, but before eggs and chicks the delicate matter of mating needs to be taken care of:

A pair of collared dove demonstrating that the act of lurv is not always so delicate

Spring has indeed sprung!

18 responses to “That time of year

  1. Oh I do like the picture of the blackcap, I’ll know what to look out for now! And the doves, wow, that’s a fantastic shot!

  2. A nice glimpse from spring bird life, Finn.

  3. The blackcap sure is a pretty little bird!

  4. I’d love to see blackcaps in the garden and I agree with you about the chaffinch, such a cheerful chappie. I find it hard to believe that spring has sprung – it’s freezing up here! Quite literally, with morning frosts although they do melt away. The south-east has been having a nice time of it though, I spoke to a friend a few days ago who was sitting in a London park in a sunny 23 degrees C. Mind you, I must admit that the daffodils are coming out here now, which is some sort of proof of a changing of the seasons.

    • Hello Lorna, it sounds like there is a real north/south divide on the weather. We seem to be having proper April weather now with sunshine and showers, and it’s cooled down to more normal temperatures from the 20C highs of a week ago. And the local wildlife seems to have responded accordingly, a drainage ditch in my local fields is now full of blossoming cowslips and there were ducklings on the brook last week. Fingers crossed for a wildlife friendly year, the creatures are in desperate need of it!

  5. Indeed spring has arrived. Your photos are superb, thank you for sharing.

  6. Wow, spring indeed, and it’s about time. What a magnificent photo you’ve made of the doves, Finn. You captured the make’s wings so beautifully that he looks positively angelic–except that the hint of red in his eyes indicates a fair portion of devilish glee. Wonderful!

    • I reckon the little guy was pretty pleased with himself. Brutal business though, and he has been extremely aggressive towards all the other birds even chasing off the wood pigeons which are rather larger than him. I must confess though, I’m pleased with that picture, one of my better action shots.

  7. Your birds are procreating and so are our chooks…don’t they know it’s autumn?!!! ;). I love seeing your native birds, they are so very exotic to me here 🙂

    • Hello Fran, is that normal chook breeding behaviour? Seems like they’re half a year out of kilter. More birds coming up in the near future, but now it’s springtime I’ll hopefully have some other creatures to show you too.

  8. I so love chaffinches… and robins… does anyone ever see a wren any more????

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