Worcestershire Record No. 18 April 2005 p. 25


John Clarke

2004 was a bad breeding year for Spotted Flycatchers. Bad weather during migration affected the birds' condition and arrival dates. Then two spells of wet and cold weather during the breeding season caused a shortage of flying insects and the loss of seven broods of young chicks.

The survey located 37 pairs of which 33 were studied and 56 nests of which 54 were monitored... Despite a high predation rate many nests were successful and 75 young are known to have fledged so the 33 pairs managed an average of 2.27 young each. As usual, much more data was collected, including details of clutch and brood sizes at various stages of the season. In addition, many observations on the birds' behaviour have been collected.

The information has been passed to the British Trust for Ornithology Nest Record Scheme and also, because this survey is very similar to theirs, for the second year we were able to contribute to the BTO Constant Nest Monitoring Scheme - in which individual breeding pairs and their breeding attempts within a given area are monitored throughout the breeding season.

Because the survey requires so much time, it is likely that a reduced scheme will operate in 2005, covering smaller areas and at a lower intensity. During the past year, a number of Spotted Flycatcher groups and individuals from around the country have contacted me and we are slowly getting organised in exchanging data and observations.

Meanwhile, in response to local demand I have been busy writing a small book about the project. It will contain much of the information that we have collected over the past four years but is just as much about the people who took part and the villages. It also contains many collected observations about the birds and human reactions to them and to the researcher who came knocking on their doors!

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