Three or four days a week I try to get away from the noise of the world and walk my local patch. It is not bird rich. I have found many interesting insects however and it seems to be a very productive area for butterflies. The area is a wooded hillside with streams running down into catchwaters. There are some wonderful views and I often find little places tucked away that few people seem to visit. One such area has offered up excellent dragonflies. Occasionally I go up and just sit on the rocks and watch a pool to see what visits.
Nevertheless birds are always in my sights and last week I walked up the lower part of the hill road and saw the gate to a private nursery garden open. I paused and peered in. As I did so a small bird perched up on the fence. Too quick for me but I knew it was a flycatcher. They often return and so I readied my camera gear. I had nothing more than a 400mm lens and the bird was behind a wire fence. I had to shoot through the gaps. And return it did.
A bird like this could be Dark-sided or Grey-streaked Flycatcher and this turned out to be the less common of the two. I was given a masterclass in flycatcher identification in the evening. This was my favourite frame – a cocked head possibly listening to the soft click of my shutter. Despite the fence I was able to get a clean line of sight.
I told a fellow photographer about it but neither he nor I has seen it since and the gate to the nursery is always locked when I walk past now. It was a rare stroke of luck to get this. Others go to bird hotspots and find all sorts of wonderful migrants. I dislike driving far now and prefer to walk locally. I accept the poor pickings and I am delighted with the odd bonus bird. The walking is good for my health. When it is cooler I shall recommence my walks to the top of Mount Parker. Who knows what flies higher up.