Who’s the summer visitor in your winter garden?

UPDATE: He was showing well this morning, eating black honeysuckle berries, got a half decent shot of him from back bedroom window.

I have mentioned the Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) before. It’s a warbler and a summer migrant. We usually only expect to see them in the UK in the summer. But, those that spend their summers in Eastern Europe and Germany sometimes end up migrating, not to the Iberian Peninsula nor North Africa as we expect, but to the UK. Here, they will often find a decent food supply in feeders in the relative shelter of our gardens.

Above is pictured a male Blackcap (the females have a chestnut brown cap) taking flight the instant a Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) lands on the black sunflower seed feeder hanging in our apple tree.

Photographed from my office window on a very dull, grey day where light levels are treacherously low and the camera’s ISO disarmingly high.

You can read a little more about the scientific explanation as to why Blackcaps are over-wintering in the UK and not the Mediterranean as was once their wont:  2015 Dec;21(12):4353-63. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13070. This is the takeaway from the paper:

“Increased availability of feeding resources, in the form of garden bird food, coupled with climatic amelioration, has enabled a successful new wintering population [of Blackcaps] to become established in Britain.”

What’s a warbler, anyway?