In the spring of 2013 Matt Marston and the Wrekin Forest Volunteers installed 30 nest boxes donated by C J Wildlife in the Ercall Wood. The birds soon moved in and that year a number of Blue Tits and Great Tits used the nest boxes, but no Pied Flycatchers, the target species.
However all was not lost. On 25 April this year a pair of Pied Flycatchers were heard, and then seen, in the wood, but there was no sign of them nesting. Eventually on 15 May four pale blue eggs were discovered in one of the nest boxes and the adults were observed nearby. To our delight they had taken up residence.
By then 15 nest boxes were in use by Blue Tits and Great Tits at various stages of development, many with adults sitting on eggs. One Blue Tit clutch was well advanced with 9 chicks beginning to show their wing feathers. Another nest box had an amazing 15 eggs and a total of at least 109 eggs had been laid at that time.
Eventually 18 nest boxes were used, containing a total of 166 eggs and producing 137 fledglings: 112 Blue Tits, 17 Great Tits and 8 Pied Flycatchers.
By now the Pied Flycatchers will have migrated to West Africa for the winter, an amazing feat for a bird slightly smaller than a House Sparrow.
Hopefully they will return to the Ercall next spring.
Stephen and Margaret Mitchell