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.
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.
In summer the Redpolls often become rather rough and darker than in winter and spring. They probably replace old feathers (moult) and gradually take on a new and fresh plumage. To see the difference there is a picture from July 12 above and below another from the end of April.
We saw the first Bumblebee in the garden yesterday, April 19. The first ones are usually spotted in April but they do not become noticable until May when the nights become warmer or frost-free.
The photo is an old one.
Courting in the garden is now in full swing. The Redpolls are the loudest and most boisterous. Around 20-30 Redpolls come and make use of the feed and there is a lot going on. The males are constantly fighting and trying to get the attention of the females. Many of them now boast a pink chest and the red patch on their forehead easily catches one’s attention where ever they go.
The first migratory Redwings (Turdus iliacus) were seen in gardens in Selfoss and groves in Grímsnes today. This afternoon ten Redwings were here in our garden, eating bread, apples and sunflower seeds. There are always some Redwings that stay in gardens during the winter time but the newly arrived birds can easily be recognised from the others. They are full of excitement, flying quickly from one garden to another in their search for food.
Since snow covers everything these newly arrived birds have to depend on feed in gardens like the ones who stay here in the winter time.
We just had an article published! The magazine is The Summerhouse and the Garden (Icelandic: Sumarhúsið og garðurinn. 1. tölublað, mars 2015). The article is about the garden and the birdlife there, and of course our web. Article and photoes by Örn Óskarsson .
The Merlin (Falco columbarius) had Starling for dinner today. This female Merlin has watched over the garden this winter and made daily attacks on the smaller birds. Sometimes she is lucky and succeeds in getting a morsel but more often her prey manages to get away.