Nature Note - Spotted Flycatcher
The Spotted Flycatcher is one of the latest of our summer visitors to return from Africa and is rarely seen locally before mid-May. It is not colourful; grey-brown on the back, off-white underneath and with streaking on the crown, throat and upper breast. There are obvious bristles around the mouth when viewed at close quarters.
Its appeal is its upright stance, perched on an obvious look-out point from which it flies, grabs a passing insect and almost invariably returns to the same look-out. Pairs can be found in open woodland but are more often seen locally in churchyards and large gardens. They build a nest against a tree-trunk or wall, in dense vegetation such as Ivy.
The most easily recognised call is a repeated “wee tuc-tuc”. However, Spotted Flycatcher is a difficult bird to find by call as it is often ‘drowned’ by noisier species. It is not showy but has a charm that makes its return each year a special day for birders.
In recent years, Wistow, Gumley, Arnesby and Foston churchyards have been good places to look for this species. However, it is getting harder to find as the UK population breeding population has declined by 87% since 1970.
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