This latest piece will probably be of great interest to my good friend Liz Snell who is an enthusiastic birder from the County of Ceredigion adjoining ours. Liz and I have been corresponding recently concerning the anticipated arrival of female Pied Flycatchers to our area from their wintering grounds (probably) from the tropical rainforest's of Equatorial Africa. The males have previously arrived in good numbers. Well at 7.45am today my wife alerted me to a frenzy of activity in the small stance of trees we have outside our house as we watched two female pied's having a right old 'hen fight' both trying to stake their claim on a rather smart 'des rez' of a nest box I have on a pine tree just by my house. This is constructed out of woodcrete and made by 'Schwegler'. Pied's have occupied this box for a number of summers now. These two females were not only engaged in a ferocious grappling fight in the air but were also rolling about on the ground! The fracas continued as both birds then engaged in a 'dog fight' flying through the wood dodging in and out of the trees. The male sang his heart out through all of this presumably waiting for the dust to settle. At one stage one female occupied the nest box whilst the other was on a branch outside flicking her wings and calling although it was to low pitch for me to hear I could see her beak moving. Her attempts to enter the box were futile as the occupying female stood her ground. So there we have it no doubt this scenario will continue for a couple of days before things settle down and they get down to the business of breeding. I have a second singing male in this small wood too. It is so pleasing to see the pied's back no one knows what problems they face in their African wintering quarters as little is really known about their winter ecology.
So if you live in Wales and have pied's in your area then it's well worth putting up a box or two on a tree near your house and you too can have fun watching the antics of these birds in the Spring. Pied's are remarkably obliging and bold in the presence of man and they are good candidates to study bird behaviour in action.
As well this morning I saw two grey herons flying up the Dyffryn valley not an uncommon sight hereabouts but not regular either its nice to see them nonetheless.