Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Tale Of The Flycatcher.

Spotted Flycatcher Brian Rafferty 

On my way home from a thoroughly enjoyable days birding in Bowland on Tuesday 17 June, the last call I made was at a church near Abbeystead. This country church must have one of the most breath taking views of any other church in the land, and from its door in the porch you can take in the beauty of the Bowland Fells around Hawthornthwaite and beyond.

Though not for a few years now, this church in the past had a thriving House Martin colony, I once counted up to sixteen nests around the church, built on both sides of the building. The church also has an almost guaranteed pair of Spotted Flycatcher breeding here annually, so whilst it wasn't much of a surprise for me to find them back here today, the sight of a bird in the trees by the bungalow associated with the church was no less exciting than ever for me....I love the Spotted Flycatcher, but little did I know the next surprise was waiting for me at the front of the church.

As I stood at the back of the graveyard to see if any House Martins were present here this year, I started to approach the porch and got within a few metres to glimpse a bird staring at me inside the porch which in an instant took to flight and into a tree close by. Putting my binoculars on to the tree I soon picked up the bird which to my surprise - amazement even - was a Spotted Flycatcher, this bird was nesting in a bowl at the top of a small pillar by the left of the church door inside this small porch. I had no intention of causing this bird anymore stress or disturbance and left immediately.

It was now a duty for me to alert the vicar of this church about my discovery, so that I could inform of the importance of trying to give this bird the protection it was entitled to particularly as a declining species so as to offer it the best chance of a successful conclusion to its choice of unusual breeding location in the small porch of a country church. I left a message for the vicar at the vicarage which is in another village, with a friendly being who was obviously interested in what I had to say, giving them my telephone number and e-mail address. I am to say the least rather disappointed one week later to have heard nothing from the vicar though I expected otherwise. 

I passed all this info on to a fellow birder who I knew would be interested, he duly visited the church a few days later to report to me that there was no sign of either the Spotted Flycatcher or the nest, though I understand some material was found on the floor which 'could' have been a part of the nest.

So in the end....positive thinking, we can only hope that the birds had fledged before my contact visited. But I'm left with a 'niggle' about never knowing what really did happen to the Spotted Flycatcher at this church, and I ponder....why would the House Martins abandon such a healthy breeding colony of sixteen nests at a quiet lonely little country church.

The Rutland Water Ospreys. 

Osprey. Richard Peglar.

Re the above image of the Osprey on the nest at Rutland Water which was posted on Birds2blog recently. Richard - who gives his time as a volunteer for the Osprey Watch at Rutland Water - quite rightly commented to me about the photograph, and it is only right I should post his comments here.... 

....'Please can I mention that the Osprey image was a screen-grab from the nest-cam that I took whilst on duty there. I'd hate anyone to think that I'd been anywhere near an Osprey on a nest, as it would not only be unacceptable but totally illegal too as this is a Schedule 1 protected bird which is one of the reasons that we closely monitor them round the clock when they're breeding'.   


Warren Baker said...

I'm a bit more cynical than you pete, but I wont put a downer on things!

Pete Woodruff said...

Warren....Definitely not more cynical than me, I'd be surprised to find anyone who is. It was just that I tried to avoid my cynicism for once and obviously succeeded.

Martin Jump said...

Sad story Pete,I fear the worst.

Pete Woodruff said...

Martin....Not happy with this cleric who didn't have the manners to get back to me on this one, and trying to be positive and think the birds had fledged when the next visitors got there a few days later is a bit of a difficult one.