Spotted Flycatchers on the move

12 Jun 2013 Spotted Flycatcher by Jeff Copner

If you want a strong contender for THE migration spectacle of spring 2013, look no further than the events that unfolded at Portland Bill, Dorset on 1 June. Only the previous day, the BTO Migration blog drew on BirdTrack data to show that Spotted Flycatchers were running late. Fast forward to the next day at Portland, where an astonishing arrival took place. Birds poured in all morning; more than 800 were counted at Portland Bird Observatory and it's likely that well in excess of 1,000 birds had passed through the wider Portland Bill area by mid morning! Spotted Flycatcher numbers have declined by 50% since the start of the Breeding Bird Survey in 1995, and is too scarce in Ireland for a trend to be produced through the Countryside Bird Survey; it would be great if this unprecedented arrival was the precursor for more positive news for the species.