The Spirit of a Hummingbird.

The new Cosmic Photo Challenge is IN THE REALM OF THE OTHERWORLDLY.

I spent some time thinking about the challenge before Googling otherworldly which was defined as “relating to an imaginary or spiritual world” and the word spiritual made me think of this photo of a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird from last summer.

After editing the photo last year I thought of it as the spirit of a Hummingbird. I added a film type border as it makes me think of some early photographs that supposedly show fairies or ghosts.

Motion blurred Hummingbird.

Feeding during incubation.

Cee’s latest Black and White Photo Challenge is Tender Moments.

I had a few ideas for the challenge before thinking of this story of a pair of Eurasian Blue Tit nesting. Taken in 1987, this is a monochrome conversion of one of the colour shots. However, at the time I was taking black and white shots along with the colour as a local newspaper was running the story of the birds nesting.

This got me wondering if this photo project was the last time I shot black and white film. Certainly by 1987 most newspapers had gone to colour apart from a few local newspapers. If a publication wanted a black and white photo they would often convert a colour original.

To the photo, the eggs are laid. Now the female is incubating them while being fed by the male. In this photo the male has just given the female a caterpillar.

Nesting Eurasian Blue Tits

Female Common Blackbird.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire, England in the 1980s and continues the theme of birds eating windfall apples in the winter.

Having posted a male Common Blackbird (Turdus merula) at the end of January here’s a female. The female is a little different from the male, brown overall but with an orange bill and eye ring similar to a male.

Female Common Blackbird.

Female Blackcap in winter.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire in the early 1990s. This is a female Blackcap feeding on a windfall apple in the winter. Sometimes known as the Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) it is a member of the Warbler family. The male Blackcap has a black cap on its head, the female a brown cap.

They were traditionally a summer visitor, arriving in the U.K. to breed. However, in the 1980s a few birds were being recorded in gardens in the winter. In the early 1990s when this photo was taken they were still uncommon in the winter. A few years later they were becoming common. If I recall correctly this bird was reported to the county recorder for inclusion in that years county bird report.

Since then numbers have continued to increase. Research has shown that the winter birds are different than the ones that breed in the U.K. in the summer. The wintering Blackcaps arrived from Germany. Isotope analysis has also shown that the German birds wintering in the U.K. tend to mate with other Blackcaps that wintered in the U.K. when back in Germany for the summer.

Another interesting point is that Blackcaps prefer mature deciduous woodland for breeding in the summer while the birds that arrive from Germany to spend the winter prefer gardens. It’s thought that the birds started wintering in the U.K. because of the milder winters and the availability of food with people feeding birds in their gardens.

Wintering female Blackcap.