Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Pied Flycatcher.

Can't wait until these little beauties return to their favoured haunts again this summer some of which I know well. Here are a few notes of interest about this species including a little bit of history.

Pied Flycatcher. Male
Male Pied Flycatcher. Brian Rafferty

The status of the Pied Flycatcher (PF) in Lancashire is that of an uncommon breeding bird, and is one that readily takes to the nest box, 54 pairs in the Lune Valley were recorded having done so in 2009. In the same year the earliest ever spring record in the county of Lancashire was that of a male found at Bowland Wild Boar Park, Chipping on 10 April 2009, the average first date being 17 April.

In South Lancashire in 1939 the first nest of a PF was found near Hoghton, it was built on a rocky ledge in a quarry and contained a clutch of four eggs, the result of this amazing record was a successful one. Prior to this discovery a nest had been found containing four eggs in a tree stump below Halton Hall near Lancaster overlooking the River Lune in May 1895, at the time this record appeared to be the most recent one of breeding outside The Lakes until the discovery of the next one at Hoghton in 1939. 

Female Pied Flycatcher
Female Pied Flycatcher. Brian Rafferty

The breeding territories of PF are soon abandoned after the young are out of the nest and family parties are notoriously difficult to detect as they feed and move about in the upper leaf canopy, although I myself was fortunate enough to find young being fed in this situation after following a pair a couple of years ago from their arrival right up to realising the young had fledged, this and another pair both used natural nest holes during the breeding season in 2010 at Abbeystead.

Worthy of a mention is the quite remarkable record of the movement of a PF ringed in the nest in the Lune Valley, North Lancashire in 1990, this bird was found the following year nesting in Germany.

Thanks for the brilliant photographs of two equally brilliant birds BR, one - or both - may well have been on Birds2blog before but....what the hell!!

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