This morning, again, was on the chilly side with frost overnight. Today, for a change, I decided to set up my camera outside positioned to catch the groups of Chaffinches and Starlings feeding on the ground under my small Acer tree. How fortunate was that – I filmed a return visit of the Blackcap...
Blackcap, shown above, when it visited in January really enjoyed the fat cake – but the Starlings did too arriving in packs, fighting to get at it! I don’t know if this made the Blackcap go searching elsewhere but we haven’t seen it for a month. There is no way for me to tell if this is the original male that visited regularly or not. If I were to guess I think it could be a different one as it chose to feed on the ground where the sunflower hearts were. The original male would take the sunflower hearts from the feeders – peanuts too! A Starling is shown briefly in the video above - notice the size difference.
Thrilled was I to see the Blackcap return – I immediately went shopping for some fat cakes! There are none hanging at the moment as they caused so much activity, noise and fighting within the Starlings themselves. The smaller birds were getting put off going near the bird table and even the hanging feeders would have hanging Starlings!
Fat cake guardian, shown above – now this is something different! It is a new design, developed for the RSPB. It claims to protect fat cakes and balls from larger birds, like crows, so they don't get eaten too quickly. The cage size is approx. 30 cm diameter. I picked one up at the shop this morning when I bought some fat cakes – now you didn’t think I was going to let the Starlings rule the roost again! I hung the cage on a hook over a bamboo with a fat cake in the centre chamber. Already a number of Starlings have tried, and tried, and tried to get at it – but I am not feeling smug yet. The Starlings are very resourceful and clearly enjoy a challenge!
I very much hope that the Blackcap will discover the new location of the fat cake and become a regular visitor once more – I have missed seeing it amongst the growing community of birds in my garden. Scotland is not the usual winter home for the Blackcap – climate change is suspected to be responsible as sightings have being recorded here over the last few years. It is still not a common bird though – I wonder how many more species will find their way to Scotland in future years.
The video and photo, shown above, were taken in my garden on February 7th 2007. To see previous posts on the Blackcap go to http://shirlsgardenwatch.blogspot.com/2007/01/new-year-brings-new-arrival.html and http://shirlsgardenwatch.blogspot.com/2007/01/i-dont-believe-it_08.html.