Category Archives: Berries

More waxwings

More waxwing (sidensvans) videos from the garden.
1)  Eating elderberries
2) Displaying flycatching skills
3) A dazed bird on the ground outside the front door; presumably it collided with the house in a drunken state…it ended well, flying off after the video ends.

Female blackaps

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!

 

The last blackberries

It’s been a good year for blackberries. I picked the last ones on Saturday. There are many unripe as usual, but it’s too late now for them to ripen. This is from a bush we were given by Scottish friends who lived in Trondheim in the 80s. They had brought the plant with them from Scotland. It grows on the south facing wall of my house. It isn’t hardy and has to be layed on the ground and covered with leaves / spruce branches….not a pleasant job as it’s a thorny variety!

The return of the waxwings

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!

Thrush invasion

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!

Thrush invasion

  1. Blackbird on apples

2. Redwing and fieldfares on rowan

3. Fieldfare on rowan (this tree was more or less stripped of berries during the day)

Yew berry year and the vine

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!

Rowans and thrushes

Large flocks of noisy (in the positive sense) thrushes in the garden this morning. A flock of a 100 or so fieldfares (gråtrost) and a few redwings (rødvingetrost), song heard again today, were feeding on rowan berries, most of the birds lifting at the end of this video. At the same time there was visible migration happening. I counted a continuous stream of some 200 birds in 10 minutes moving westwards! A few waxwings (sidensvans) have also arrived.  Yes, rowans are a must have in the garden although I don’t use them much myself.