Once upon a time many moons ago, a small sapling was growing in the gravel in the drive at the front of the house. I recognised it as a prunus and decided I'd do my bit for the environment and grow a tree – it is now in my back garden and as high as the house. It never occurred to me that I might get fruit, I thought you needed certain species, male and female and all, I just thought 'grow a tree' (I do have others). This year it had a terrific crop of cherries, the best year by far; I had a few off the lower branches and wondered if I should collect the rest. The forecast for the weekend in question was good and I thought another two days on the tree in the sun would just 'finish them off nicely', so I decided to leave them a bit longer. On the Sunday I popped out and harruummmpphh, they had all but disappeared! Not a happy chappie. In two days the birds had cleared me out! I couldn't believe it there were so many of them and now all gone. I'll know next year... if I get any cherries then.
A day or so later I had a glimpse of a 'grey' bird in the foliage of said cherry tree. I couldn't quite make it out and didn't see it again. Too grey for a juvenile starling, not big enough for a blackbird (a grey blackbird???). The visiting house sparrows are grey underneath, but I didn't think it a sparrow either.
Two days later, I saw another glimpse, grabbed the camera and raced upstairs, carefully opening a bedroom window I managed to capture one of the culprits... a blackcap. At first I thought it was a juvenile, then decided it was a female – now I can't make up my mind. The legs look a little pale and there is some feather growth going on at the forehead. Juvenile female? Female in moult? I am just pleased it visited the garden. Those that have visited the blog over time will know I had a male blackcap in the garden through the winter so it is pleasing they are still local... apart from my lost cehrries. Any thought as to gender or age? (date 7 July 2011).