The colours of autumn are always as fascinating. Every year the coming season amazes me in its beauty. Hopefully this will continue to be so for years to come. – Have a happy winter here in the Northern hemisphere.
It is autumn and winter is almost upon us. Last night temperatures dropped to around zero, 0° C. There are still groups of Starlings here, and Redwings and Blackbirds eating berries. Most of the Redwings will be flying South soon.
Our new visitors this autumn, the Siskins, are migrants but whether they stay for the winter remains to be seen. There are still eight of them here. Once winter comes and the seeds from trees and plants become scarce Redpolls, Crossbills and Siskins will be dependant on the feed put out for them.
It has been exceptionally lively in the garden for the last few days. It has been raining with some heavy winds which makes the garden a good place to find food and shelter in.
There have been the usual Redpolls, up to 25 of them, seven Blackbirds, lots of Redwings and Starlings, two Goldcrests and a Wren. Then there are the Crossbills that have taken a liking to our garden and there were at least nine of them here this morning. But the most unusual ones here are the Siskins. Their numbers have grown from last week and now there are at least 12 of them.
We wake up in the morning with the Siskins chittering outside our bedroom window. It is such a lovely start to the day.
Spring comes and goes. This is not uncommon for the month of April in Iceland. We have had some beautiful sunny days and then we wake up to snow and hail. We should be used to this but we are always amazed when we experience what looks like a battle between winter and spring.
The days are brighter and much longer. The dark winter days have retreated, the sun rises earlier and sets later. We feel optimistic and think everything is possible. No wonder we score high in happiness surveys.
Iceland is now number three on the World Happiness Report, with the Nordic countries Norway and Denmark coming first and second.
In OECD better life index Icelanders score on average higher than people in other OECD countries. Icelanders seem to be more satisfied with their lives. We rate our general satisfaction with life 7.5 on the scale from 0 to 10. This is higher than the OECD average of 6.5. – I wonder whether these surveys are taken during summer or winter.
Today was the shortest day of the year, winter solstice. The sun rose at about 11.15 and will set at around 15.30. It was a beautiful day, with intermittent snowfall and some blue skies could even be seen during the brightest time of the day. The weather forecast predicts a White Christmas and today was one of these perfect days to get into a Christmas mood.
Blackcaps are annual guests and this autumn they appeared here on October 28. First there were two of them but today they are four, three males and one female bird. The male has a black cap and the female has a brown one.
They are eating small berries from schrubs and apples that we fix on branches of trees or lay out on the ground.
In the last few days a Blackbird couple have been very busy in the garden. The male stands watch, intermittently singing his soul out, as the female searches for nesting material. She is busy gathering last years grass, rotting leaves from the gutter and moss.
Placing the material diligently in her bill she flies up into a spruce where the nest is carefully hidden from bad weather and possible enemies. Soon she will lay her eggs.
Several Blackbird pairs are in Selfoss now and usually each pair breeds up to four times during the summer time. We can expect the Blackbird stock in Selfoss to have grown considerably this autumn if things go as planned.
Happy New Year dear readers and thanks for following our blog. Our resolution is to continue posting photos of the birdlife around us and bringing you photos and info from interesting places we visit.
Today there is a little more snow than yesterday and the storm Frank has left the country. It is a beautiful first day of the year 🙂
We spotted this season’s first Blackcap, a male, in the garden today. Blackcaps are annual vagrants and the first ones are usually seen in the end of October but most of them come in the first week of November. Blackcaps have sometimes stayed in the garden the whole winter. How well they cope depends on how mild the winter is. They mostly eat berries from shrubs and the apples that we put out. They also like fat and compete with the other birds for food.
This Blackcap was in our garden in Selfoss today.
These wild mushrooms, know as Greville’s Bolete or Larch Bolete, are found in forests, near larch trees. We pick them at this time of year, wipe the top and fry them in butter before they go to the freezer.
During winter we use them for soups and sauces. They are mild in flavour but it is worth the while because mushroom hunting is such a nice hobby.