Zwartkop, femaleToday I was cheerfully greeted by my little warbler friend the blackcap who returned from his winter dwellings. The Eurasian warbler usually known as the blackcap is apparently quite common in the Netherlands – I haven’t seen or heard many though.

But there is at least one family of blackcaps I got quite close to last year as they decided to nest in a garden I frequently visit. It’s an inner city garden, well hidden from the usual garden surroundings preventing house cats and other predators (like gardeners). For a while I witnessed this garden thrive without any interference. It quickly became a splendid habitat for our tiniest of neighbours. Dragonflies, butterflies, bumblebees, solitary bees, honey bees, huge amounts of ladybugs, you name it.


I’ve heard and read the phrase “if you build it, they will come” (and seen the movie: Field of Dreams, 1989) used for garden wildlife promotion (rsbp 2013), and it resonated with me. But what works even better is to just leave these oasis devoid of humans alone, and let nature take care of its own.


If you’ve never heard a blackcap I suggest you google a sound clip. It’s a tremendously vigorous and animated song. Strong and far surpassing the little bird’s otherwise humble appearance. It’s just brilliant, and leaves me in awe of its expressionistic quality and richness. After learning that these birds take part in the annual migration of birds, I felt honoured to welcome and observe such esteemed guests visiting the hidden garden for their most important season.


I’ll let the photos below tell you the rest of the story. Suffice it to say there was a “Storm” brewing, and things were about to change in our precious refuge…