March 12th   Leave a comment

As I walked past Denburn Wood to get my lift to work this morning I heard a sharp “tack”. Then another one. I last heard this last in January in Liberia, in a village in the middle of nowhere, after a long day catching whinchats and recovering tags. It was getting dark and a group of blackcaps came to roost in the palms by our hut. Just like this morning, I didn’t see them, but they are as distinctive with their calls as with their caps. I hardly ever come across blackcaps in the winter in Africa, they are in the far west and the far north in winter and I am usually more central. And I hardly ever see blackcaps in Crail in winter – at the other extreme of their wintering range. It’s a big distribution – blackcaps all the way from Scotland to West Africa. About 40 years ago central European blackcaps started wintering in the south of England as winters started to get milder. They were great birds to find mid-winter, these summer only migrants suddenly turning up on a bird feeder or feeding on holly berries at Christmas alongside the robins and bramblings. Those early pioneers have survived well and now many generations on there are thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of blackcaps wintering all over the UK, with a few now even in Scotland. I find a wintering blackcap in Denburn about every 5 years. There are many aspects of climate change that are an impending emergency, but it is climate change, not climate destruction, and many species like blackcaps, and the soon to be breeding little egrets around Guardbridge taking advantage.


Posted March 13, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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