Sightings by date:
Males in Blue, Females in Red
December 4, 14, 24, 27
This page is read differently than the rest of the blog, new entries will be added at the foot and not at the top. It records Blackcap sightings in the garden for Autumn/Winter 2011-2012. Where possible, photographs will be included but it's not always possible to record the sighting with a photograph. However, a gallery of Garden Blackcaps from the last few years can be viewed here. The Blackcaps over-wintering in Devon are inteesting here is the full story.
" The presence of wintering Blackcaps in the UK, has always fascinated me. The winter population here in the South West is made up of German and Scandinavian birds who instead of migrating to Spain and North Africa, like some of their fellows, and the UK summer birds, choose to migrate a more northerly course. This first came to light in 1961 when a bird wearing a ring was caught by a cat and the ring traced to a breeding study in Austria. This led to further, more detailed investigation which proved that a proportion of the Austrian/German Blackcaps were choosing to winter in Southern Ireland and the South West of Britain. Further studies have shown that the English wintering birds are genetically programmed to migrate here. Migrating this shorter distance is of real benefit to UK wintering Blackcaps because they arrive back on their breeding grounds some 7 to 10 days earlier than their more adventurous "southern wintering" counterparts thereby gaining two advantages. Firstly they have the pick of the best nesting sights and habitat. Research has shown that this leads to better and more successful breeding and secondly females arrive back having expended less energy and fat resources. This leads to a larger more successful clutch of eggs and a higher success rate. The outcome is that the UK wintering population is growing and out-doing the Southern migrating birds."
Blackcaps visit my garden every year, for at least for the last 4. This year the first sighting was 29th October, one day earlier than recorded in 2010. This first bird seen this year wass the female pictured above. The following day (30h October) one was in the garden again feeding on apple placed specifically for it as I have learnt that they have a soft spot for apple pieces. The bird seen on the 30th had been ringed.
Latest Garden Blackcap sighting, un ringed female on 20 November, feeding on apple as usual.
Female 22 November, early afternoon on apple.
This next photo, 24 November at 1100. Another ringed bird, or the one seen on 29th October returning.
December 4th the first male Blackcap was seen.
December 14th a male at 1100.
December 24th, male at midday and 1530. Siting high on cotoneaster bush.
December 27th, male seen twice PM, feeding on apple again.
The last time I saw a Blackcap in the garden was 27th December 2011. The date today is 2nd November 2012 and at around midday today a female Blackcap was seen feedng on the apple placed on the conifer. I couldn't get a proper photo.