1999: Spotted Flycatchers at Badbury Rings

Spotted Flycatchers

Later on August 25 after Lyme Regis:

“Half-way between Lyme Regis and Winchester lies the ancient hill-fort at Badbury Rings. I thought it would be good to stretch my legs there at the very least. In fact the views were expansive and the approach, between an avenue of trees, most relaxing.

“Towards the end of my stroll I was enticed into the woods at the crown of the ring by the call of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. A pair of Nuthatches drew me further in until I saw a bird perched at the top of an oak. It flew out, fluttered and flew back. Spotted Flycatcher? It was heavily backlit but the profile looked right, so I worked my way round the tree some 90 degrees. I became aware of more than one bird catching insects. Eventually I managed to get one in good light and close enough.

“A Chaffinch? Yup, afraid so. I could not have mistaken the shape, surely? Fortunately a moment’s wait provided another bird in good viewing – a Spotfly this time. Not just one but several, along with the Chaffinches and some Great Tits, Blue Tits, a Coal Tit and a Goldcrest. Aren’t oaks marvellous?

“For me a red-letter day is seeing one Spotted Flycatcher, so several is unprecedented. However, as I walked further round the summit it seemed that every oak had its party of Spotted Flycatchers. Not only that but a huge gang of Goldfinches was twittering away at the edge of the copse. Not a bad tally for a mid-journey break!”

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