Photo: Steve Round (http://stevenround-birdphotography.com)
The Spotted Flycatcher is the subject of a BTO study which commenced in 2003. The population of this species in the UK has declined by 78% between 1972 and 1996 and is a species of high conservation concern. It nests in scattered locations across Norfolk with probably no more than 600 breeding pairs in the county. The aims of this study are to determine the preferred habitat and site fidelity of this species in Norfolk, and to monitor their breeding success and overwinter survival.
In 2006, our aim is both to determine whether or not 2003-2005's nestlings will return to their natal sites, and also to expand the study to include new sites. In order to collect more information in 2006, we are hoping that both birdwatchers and non-birdwatchers (whether they participated previously or not) will report any breeding pairs that they come across. We complete a “Nest Record Card” for the British Trust for Ornithology for each nest and, if the owner of the land on which flycatchers are nesting is happy and gives consent for us to do so, we shall arrange for a local bird ringer to visit the site to ring the nestlings. In this way it will be possible to monitor if the same birds subsequently return to the site.
If you find a Spotted Flycatcher nesting in Norfolk, or the birds appear to have set up territory in your area, please email the project organiser, Rachel Warren for the appropriate forms. Please also let Rachel know if you are happy for the nestlings on your land to be ringed. If you are a qualified ringer with a pulli endorsement, please contact Rachel to request this year's colour rings and a ringers' form. If you would like to help with project but have no flycatchers nesting close by, you can volunteer to help monitor the sites so that nest record cards can be completed, mainly to determine hatching and fledging success or failure, and to look for colour ringed birds from previous seasons. Please contact Rachel to volunteer.