Thursday, 23 February 2012

Black stuff

For the past couple of weeks, this blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) has been feasting on the block of seed-enriched fat hanging from our mock currant. It has been taking turns, albeit grudgingly, with a robin. Every time I look out of the window, there he is, stocking his fat reserves for another chilly night. These members of the warbler family only turn up in winter time, to escape the worst extremes of Scandanavian winters. Most years we see females but this year just this male. Though yesterday a female turned up and then went again. The females look pretty much the same, except their caps are chestnut brown.

I managed to get this blurry picture of the blackcap from the garage where I was also trying to breathe new life into a dried out ribbon. I was using an elaboration of Bill M's technique. Being lazy, and assuming ribbon to be absorbent stuff, I laid out the whole spool and misted it with WD-40.

Rewinding the ribbon, I dragged it through a piece of old towel - pinching the ribbon as it wound on to the spool - so there weren't any bits that were too saturated. You need three hands for this really. And did it work? Well, yes. I wound the refreshed ribbon onto my  green Remington Noiseless Portable, types a few lines and it promptly decided to practically seize-up. Don't worry, it isn't the ribbon doing this. It just needs a drop of oil and maybe the shift spring adjusting - but I haven't got round to doing either, so you'll have to take my for it that it seems to work OK. I misted it by spraying upwards, so the droplets fell like drizzle on the ribbon.


  1. The WD-Force is strong with the typopsphere right now! The constant progress in re-inking technology is always interesting.
    Cute bird! A crested tit used to show up at our house last winter. No sightings this year, though, since we moved the bird feeder a bit away from the balcony.

  2. Lovely photo of the blackcap.

    Let us know how long the WD-40 treated ribbon lasts.

  3. Cardinals nest each year in the shrubs that line my patio. Every year there are more, so I assume the babies are coming back to raise a brood when they mature.

  4. I like your technique. Seem much easier to spray the whole ribbon at once than by sections.

    Lovely bird :)

  5. Nice photo of the blackcap. It is much better than mine of the painted bunting last year; Woodpeckers too. I never dreamed of trying an entire ribbon at the same time. Depends on the ribbon material some will absorb the WD-40 immediately and others seem to just let it lay there. I'm looking forward to your typecast with the ribbon.