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By Malcolm Fincham
The week commencing June 18th started well with my first sighting of the year (in the Guildford area) of a spotted flycatcher. In fact not just one, but a family of them, while on my travels around Shamley Green. They tend to have a habit of adopting a favourite perch and fly to and fro catching insects. So I was instantly able to recognise their pattern of behaviour.
The spotted flycatcher is now on the RSPB’s ‘Red’ list, due to the fact that it has declined in numbers of up to 80% in many areas over the last 30 years. I was especially pleased to notice a family of them as this was the same location where I had seen them last year.
They are summer visitors, often arriving later than most (about May time), and usually leave in September.
Due to another wet spell of weather and other commitments, I didn’t get out last week as much as I would have liked. Therefore I was pleased to receive a couple of email updates about Stoke Lake. The first was to say that the adult female great crested grebe now seems to be brooding a second clutch of eggs.
On investigation, this does seem to be the case. The other adult meanwhile was out on the lake with the previous brood still teaching them to fish. I have heard of this before but have never witnessed it for myself.
I have also heard tales of the types of the grebe ‘genus’ that have assisted their parents in feeding their new siblings. I’ll be interested in keeping a special eye on this.The week ended on a happy note when I received a second email from Paul (who submitted some of the swan pictures in a previous report) to say he thought one of the common tern chicks at Stoke Lake had hatched. I was able to meet up with him on Monday evening this week (June 25) to find he had kindly brought his telescope and tripod along with him. We had good views of not just one, but three fluffy common tern chicks. I suppose one could say, the moral to this story is “one good ‘tern’ deserves another”.