A Black And White Matter

Pied Flycatcher by Steve Garvie used under Wikipedia Commons licence

Last year I wrote a post called ‘Searching For Itinerant Vicars’ in which I explained that Ring Ousels were a bogey bird for me on the Fylde. Since then I’ve found one on Porto Santo where they are rare and seen a couple on Out Skerries, so I know what they look like. But when Paul Ellis found one at Pilling Lane recently my perennial Fylde failure came to mind, and I went to Fleetwood early this morning before parkrun volunteering to try and put that right.

As I passed the cemetery before reaching the beach and coastal grassed areas I decided to have a look in there first. This can be a good place for migrants, and I’ve found Yellow-browed Warbler in the fringe trees before.

I was still very much in hope rather than expectation mode as I approached the back of the Sea Cadets building on the perimiter path. To be honest I know the names of several people mentioned on headstones after many visits, and was moved to see a gentleman’s wife had passed on since my last walk round.

Subsequently I got a glimpse of a small bird. I had absolutely no plumage details on it, and yet the way it carried itself was clearly not that of a resident of one of the regular migrants. This ‘jizz’ as it’s known is very difficult to convey in writing. Raising my bins I was a bit gobsmacked to see a stunning male Pied Flycatcher. They are always a good bird to find in the Fylde, but I was also taken aback because it felt too early for one to arrive. The mind takes time to catch up with the idea that for example egrets are no longer exotic, and similarly that every year birds arrive back earlier (on average) than before.

I’ve found a couple of Pied Flycatchers in Blackpool in the past. In particular there was another cracking male at Kincraig Lake a few years back. Paul Ellis got some excellent photographs of that one, but I don’t know where I stored my copies of those. So I’m falling back on Steve Garvie’s stunning shot above to show the essence of the equally stunning bird I saw today on its migration. It wasn’t the black and white bird in this morning’s search image, but I am definitely not complaining.

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