#3 – Cloisonné Flycatcher

I think there’s a good poem somewhere in the idea of a field-guide. This is not that poem; I would need to spend some more time working out what overall effect to go for. But that’s napowrimo for you; can’t afford to think things through.

Cloisonné Flycatcher Muscicapa umbraticola

L11-27cm Nests in dense clumps of burdock or chervil, under the eaves of hospices, or in the crevices of drystone walls of slate or limestone. A scarce autumnal visitor to Northern Europe; in Britain confined to Renfrewshire and the Welsh Marches. Sometimes seen on migration hunting for spiders along canal towpaths.

Identification Smallish flycatcher with upright stance and fretful manner. ♂ made unmistakable by tarblack head, lilac throat and poppyred primaries fringed with gold. The ♀, a muted greyish-brown, is sometimes mistaken for Concrete Starling, Dingy Swift or Broad-beaked Warbler, but distinguishable by ticcing head motion and skulking habit.

Voice Generally quiet. Alarm call a rasping frep-frep. Song, delivered from a thorn or chimney-top, a slow, tuneless ‘clü-clü.. cli ti titi-tu’ (‘Baker, Baker, tell me where I am’).

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