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Pied Flycatchers



The one thing that I absolutely love about the natural world, you’re always discovering new things. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been studying, how old you are, there’s always something you haven’t seen, heard, smelled or touched. It might not be a significant find by any standards, but this week I added two new species, one flower called Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris) and though it’s widespread and common, I’ve never seem them before.

Granulated Ground Beetle

The other species came in the form of a beetle which I’ve seen a lot of photographs of, but never actually seen one in person and that’s a large ground beetle called the Granulated Ground Beetle (Carabus granulatus). Seeing one of these large ground beetles makes me want to find the rarer Blue Ground Beetle (Carabus intricatus) which I’ve been told is a mainly nocturnal species of ancient woodland that feeds on slugs and snails. There’s so much to discover, even in the Uk where we have a fairly low number of over-all species on this island compared to mainland Europe.

To keep my birdie friends happy and for anybody who likes to know the ‘how’ behind an image. Below is a pic of me inside a custom made hide, designed by John Marsh of which I’ve made some modifications to suit me. It’s essentially 4 height adjustable spiked poles with 4 cross support beams made out of aluminium. The hide is square and has scrim netting over the main front hole which is the best for being able to still see out of. There’s nothing worse than being in a hide to photograph something that you can’t actually see. Hides are by far the best way to get close to nature. I’ve tried just throwing netting over myself in the past and while it does work, you have to remain completely still, which over extended periods of time is agonising. This hide is small, but it’s big enough that you can still move around, stretch and get comfortable in, even if you are sat on the ground.

My Hide

My Hide

In the making

In the making

Male Pied Flycatcher

Male Pied Flycatcher

Brecon Beacon Red Kites & Usk Reservoir

The trip finally arrived and despite having all kinds of weather thrown at us, the Red Kites really did deliver the goods today. This was my first time visiting an official feeding station and I wasn't at all disappointed with the views. I honestly didn't want to leave... That said, myself and Paul Joy did spend a good few hours exploring the surrounding environment and we must have recorded nearly 40 species of bird. Willow tit, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Snipe and Garden Warbler to name just a few. 

Rare Start

What a fantastic start to the month! If you're a birder, you'll probably notice the picture below of a Firecrest! This is my first time ever seeing a Firecrest and that is mainly down to them being so rare! They are so rare that they are a Scheduled 1 Breeding bird in the UK and highly protected at they're nesting sites so I quickly got an ID photo and swiftly moved on. The location is of course going to be kept private for the reasons mentioned above. In other news, Pied Flycatchers look to be having another good year but lets hope the bad weather ahead doesn't effect they're breeding too much. Pied Flycatchers only have 1 clutch in the time they are here so the weather really does play a massive part in the success of they're breeding season. Other birds showed well - Wood Warbler, Whinchat, Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat.

Pied Flycatchers... Have the chicks returned!?!

Well, if you've skipped to the photos already, you would have already seen the female Pied Flycatcher that has returned to the same spot! This bird was rung as a chick last year! So it has made it all the way to Africa and back! I cannot contain my excitement having filmed these very chicks being rung last year. What amazing birds! And, it even has a Male by the looks already ;). I sense this year is going to be another great succesfull year for the Pieds but, the weather really is going to detirmined their success. 

The rest of the day was stollen by a male Yellowhammer that kept me and 2 of my photography friends occupied for longer than we care to admit. Finally got that photo I've been after with the yellow background from the gorse bushes.