Monday, 20 August 2012

Spot on

An exciting (for me anyway) update on my ragwort experiment. It turns out that ragwort is just the thing if you're hoping to attract flies and flycatchers.
With the benefit of hindsight I suppose it's fairly obvious. The ragwort flowers are a magnate for just about every flying insect in the district - which, of course, is just what a flycatcher is looking for.
A couple of days ago we had one good sunny afternoon and I stretched out on my garden bench with a newspaper. A stone's throw away in full sun the ragwort was fly central all over again.
Spotted flycatcher
Photo: Andrew Easton
Then I noticed a small grey bird in the lower branches of my neighbour's apple tree. A grey bird that launched a lightning attack on fly central, skimming the flowers and then landing on a fence post close by.
It then flitted back to the same apple branch before going through the whole procedure again. And again for the rest of the afternoon, or as much of it as I could waste flycatcher watching.
Its been a while since I've seen a spotted flycatcher. And I've never seen one in my garden - it was a real thrill.
The next day it rained and there was no sign of the flycatcher.
No sign the following day either as the rain kept on coming; perhaps it was a bird on the move south, I decided. 
But then today the sun came back and the flycatcher has been busy working 'its' ragwort through another afternoon. I think my experiment is convincing me that ragwort isn't such a bad thing to have around. 


  1. I've never knowingly seen a flycatcher.

  2. The little brown birds do get overlooked. I saw a Twite the other day, but only realised I had after I'd looked it up in a book.

  3. Yes, I'd probably not give it much of a second glance - too busy. Just goes to show that slowing down and taking time to really look pays off.
    Mind you, there's no sign of it today so maybe it's moved on in Arfica-wards.