These last few weeks at least three Blackcaps have been in the garden. Around this time of year these annual guests appear and we blog about them. They now come for the apples we put out but also some small berries from the shrubs which there are not a lot of, after the cold and wet summer here in South Iceland.
As is often the case, the name of the species comes from the colour of the male’s black cap but the females have a brown cap.
In a few instances Blackcaps have managed to survive the winter here in the garden but they are usually too cold and wet for them. There is a lot of competition here for the feed we put out as Blackbirds, Redwings and Starlings often have the upper hand and chase the smaller ones away.
Once again we are visited by the Blackcap. This vagrant has come by our garden in the autumn almost every year for a long time now. They are not breeding birds in Iceland and most likely come from Scandinavia. They have been spotted all around the country this autumn.
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.
There are new guests in the garden. A European Robin, two female Blackcaps and a Brambling. They are more than welcome and the Robin got a piece of melon, the Blackcaps an apple and the Brambling some seeds.
They seemed happy with the refreshments but as the day went on they had to fight with Starlings, Blackbirds and Redwings for food.
The winter has been mild so far. The Blackcap is here again after having been away from some time. There are still enough berries on trees and shrubs so Blackcaps, along with other small birds and vagrants, are not as dependent on the food put out form them. At least not yet. The mild weather increases their chances of surviving the winter.
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.
There are a lot of Blackcaps in Iceland now. In the last couple of days we have had 4 -5 of both genders staying in the garden. They claim territories and therefore there has been a battle between them. It seems that one of them has taken ownership in the garden south of the house and another north of the house.
The Blackcaps like apples and pears a lot and are in constant competition with Thrushes and Starlings for these delicacies .
Blackcaps are vagrants in Iceland and have in a few instances managed to survive through the winter here in the garden. They have the most chance of surviving when the winters are mild. We’ll see what happens this winter.
This photo was taken yesterday, November 16, of a male Blackcap.
This is one of the female blackcaps I mentioned earlier. Although she´s shy I managed to capture this picture of her while she was enjoying the apple. The other female is gone, driven away by this one who seems to be the spouse.