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Photographer Leslie Cater
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My Wildlife Images

Spotted Flycatcher Adventure

A week to remember 

This blog is about my unexpected encounter with the Spotted flycatcher. We were asked to house sit for a friend who was going on a much needed holiday, as they never get the chance to go away. We arrived at the house and settled in for the week, next morning I got up and looked out of the window and saw a small bird sitting on the telephone cable. After I looked a second time I realised it was a spotted flycatcher,I got dressed and went down stairs and out side to see if I could find it. The spotted flycatcher was sitting in a small tree on the half circle of grass that was in front of the house. The grass area was about fifty foot across and had a drive way going around that half circle of grass. Our car was parked near the front door and either side of the door were two climbing rose bushes that grew up the outside walls. As I watched, it flew over my head and landed in the climbing rose bush on the left. At first I did not see the nest but after looking I saw it was close to the front door and the bird was not worried that I was there. I got my camera on my tripod and stood on the drive way next to my car, I then waited to see what happened next, to my surprise the spotted flycatcher was joined by a second bird, another spotted flycatcher. They then both left the nest and flew to the small tree not more than twenty feet from where I was standing by my car, when they proceeded to hunt for food from the tree. I spent the next six days on and off standing by the house near the car and the best part was, I was handed food and drink through the window while I was there photographing the spotted flycatchers. You can guess how wonderful such an experience was to be so close to the birds without them worrying that I was there, in fact when unloading supplies from the car into the house, they just carried on their daily routine.

The Spotted Flycatcher Parents

​One of the Spotted flycatchers with a juicy dragonfly for the chicks. They would hunt from sunrise to sunset and often into the late evening after the sun had gone down. Their hunting ability is amazing, flying up to the top of trees or verly low over the ground, swooping down on their prey.

The amount of different species of butterfly, dragon fly, flies, beetles, wasps and bees, mosquito, spiders and grubs. In fact if it moved they captured it with a delicate skill of hovering or swooping down. 

It was none stop through the day and the chicks had a very good supply of food to help them with their very fast growth rate before fledging.

​Male Spotted Flycatcher with a purple Hairstreak This is an amzing photo because of what the spotted flycatcher returned to the nest with, a purple hairstreak which is a species that is on the decline.

They caught many butterfly and unfortunately at least three purple hairstreaks when they went to the top of the very big Oak trees to hunt, Its ususally where you find some species of butterflies like the purple hairstreak.

This photo for me is one of my favourite photos of the spotted flycatcher and I dont think I can take a better photo than this one.

Some of the other insects they caught The photo left is of a yet to identify wasp species as far as I know, and I have not been able to find it yet. The photo right hardly shows that it has an insect in its beak, but it does and it is a small beetle. Such was the diverse insect species they caught on a daily basis for their chicks.

​In this photo you can see the species of this butterfly a small tortoisshell, the spotted flycatchers caught many of these butterflies, so I wonder just how many are comsumed by the birds in the wild.

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The Beautiful Kingfisher
Dartford Warblers
 

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Monday, 10 December 2018

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