Snowy weather today had an instant effect, bringing an influx of birds into the village and making the daffodils look a bit sad. The best best bird was a female Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla, #411), this is a winter visitor from Northern Europe which can often be found among winter flocks of chaffinches in the UK. This was the first I’ve ever seen in my garden though, or even around the village. Fieldfare and Song Thrush were back after being a bit scarce lately, Common Buzzard passed low overhead, the Great-spotted Woodpecker was showing well.and a noisy group of 58 starlings was out of the ordinary.
Another interesting bird in the garden today was the Blackcap.. A male (photographed) has been around all winter, visiting the fat balls most days, but today was the first time this winter I saw a brown-capped female. Until recently this bird was a summer visitor, but warmer winters and increasing bird feeding has enabled them to over-winter in UK in increasing numbers. Interestingly, ringing studies show that our breeding blackcaps head to the Mediterranean for the winter, but birds from Central Europe now come to spend winter with us rather than heading South.