A female blackcap (munk) was feeding on rowan berries below the house this morning. I see blackcaps a few times every winter nowadays, an increasingly common overwintering bird, thanks to artificial feeding and berries in gardens. They even manage to overwinter at close to 70 degrees north in Tromsø. The map shows all the January observations of blackcaps in Norway in January. Remember that there is only twilight in Tromsø at that time of year. There’s even one observation of a bird sitting in a rowan tree, illuminated by xmas lights, eating the berries and singing on 6th January 2018!
A much better video taken the day after. This bird was catching insects. Right at the end a second female arrives…I hadn’t noticed this at the time!
A large flock of around 800 Jackdaws (kaie) soared playfully above the bay this afternoon in the cold air (approaching a week of sub-zero C temperatures), probably put up by a hawk…and waxwings in the garden seemed to be being entertained by the performance!
Great excitement this morning! I noticed a flock of birds from my desk that landed in a rowan tree. My first impression was fieldfares (gråtrost) and waxwings (sidensvans) but neither seemed quite right! Through binoculars I saw immediately they were pine grosbeaks (konglebiter) which are large finches! Rowan berries are their preferred winter food A new species for my garden, adding weight to my theory that if you wait long enough they will come to you! This was the species I had most wanted to see and had been looking out for them as there is a big invasion on in my area! I managed to get a very short video from which the two still pictures are taken before the whole flock (27) flew off westwards, the biggest number ever recorded in Malvik Kommune :)
A “slightly” better picture of these beauties from Wikicommons (Ron Knight from Seaford, East Sussex, United Kingdom):
Most of the thrushes were gone today, replaced by a flock of about 120 waxwings (sidensvans), picking up from where the thrushes left off!
The first two videos show waxwings eating apples opened up by fieldfares and blackbirds yesterday and also eating guelder rose (krossved) berries, so far not touching the elderberries (svarthyll).
Earlier in the day, the waxwings were hunting insects on birch trees and occasionally high into the air in pursuit of insects:
…and the morning after, they had discovered the yew berries!
…and on unharvested redcurrants (rips)….with a fieldfare (gråtrost) and brambling (bjørkefink) at the end of the video!
I didn’t see what happened here until I replayed the video. A Siberian nutcracker (nøttekråke) at the top of a spruce tree must have had a hazel nut in its pouch, brings it up, juggles with it in its bill before pouching it again!
Unusually large numbers of thrushes, mainly fieldfare (gråtrost), redwings (rødvingetrost) and a few blackbirds (svarttrost) in the garden at the moment, mainly on the rowans (wild and planted for the birds) and apples (need to harvest earlier than normal this year).
This year is a bumper year for rowans near the fjord, but poor a little inland due probably to frosts which didn’t affect us! Late frost at the time of fruit flowering iis very unusual where I am near the fjord (due to a combination of warmth from the fjord and the fact that there isn’t night at this time!). This has concentrated thrushes near the fjord where the food is!
There are an enormous number of yew berries on the tree next to the kitchen window this year and this video shows how a vine (probably Vitis coignetiae) has found its way towards the light high up in the yew, which is Taxus × media “Hicksii”, the Anglojap or Hicks’ yew, which is a hybrid of Taxus baccata and Taxus cuspidata.
Most will be left for the birds, bringing both waxwings (sidensvans) and blackbirds (svarttrost) close to the house!