four spotted flycatcher babies (you can just see the fourth behind the middle one) the day before they flew

We waited with bated breath for the rare Spotted Flycatcher to return this year. Our swallow numbers have plummeted and we feared for the flycatcher. On the 15 May we heard a familiar ‘tich tich tich’ outside our bedroom window – and sure enough there he was safe, well and nest prospecting. Surprisingly he settled for an extraordinarily sensible nest site too, in the apex of a small open fronted barn-shed outside the kitchen window; one that’s well protected and safe from predators. His mate soon joined him. We had a ‘birds-eye-view’ of all activities – nest building, clutch laying and sitting, hatching and feeding. Last weekend there was huge excitement and activity from both parents as they encouraged their fledglings out of the nest on their first flight. A success! Hopefully they will manage a second brood too. Watch this space.

Another rarity – the Lesser Butterfly Orchid. We found a small group of these rare and beautiful flowers in Hannaborough moor. Aren’t they something?