Take a walk in the Washburn Valley, around Dob Park, and try to spot a spotted flycatcher! This undistinguished little brown-and-buff bird has the delightful habit of sitting still, then dashing out to catch a passing insect, and returning to its branch to wait for another – diagnostic behaviour which helps identification no end!
They are among our latest summer visitors and in national decline, but last year we had a good season. The upper Wharfe is actually now a more likely area – try Lower Grass Wood and Littondale – but Strid Wood has been reliable in the past.
A black-and-white bird behaving in just the same way is probably a Pied Flycatcher. Strid Wood and Grass Wood, and Folly Hall Wood in Washburndale, are local strongholds, with breeding helped along by nestboxes. Again, 2005 was a good year, and perhaps 2006 will be another – this year’s warmer weather will help the birds in their search for insects.