Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
One of the many changes I have witnessed in my years of birding is the sad decline of this species. It was never common but frequently nested around the houses of the village we lived in the Test Valley in Hampshire but now it is uncommon everywhere. Whilst they are present in Dorset I took this photograph on a return to that Hampshire village so it is holding on there.
On Springwatch they reported that numbers of Spotted Flycatcher were down a staggering 81% on levels of just 20 years ago. All sorts of issues come in to play; declining numbers of insects, loss of nesting habitat, problems in there wintering quarters in Africa and persecution whilst on migration all contribute to decline of this species; I just hope it is not too late to reverse the trend.
You do not need to see a Spotted Flycatcher close up to identify it. If you see a bird perched near the end of a branch, then see it fly up in a loop and return to that same perch then odds on its a Spottie!