Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Red-backed Shrike

Most of May had been quite disappointing with a strong westerly airflow but a glimpse of a change and a chance began to develop in the last few days of the month, going in to June. Conditions of the evening of June 4th looked like they had to produce a good bird and being NE winds with rain this was THE conditions for Buckton, none of the SE rubbish ! I had the nets up from dawn on the 5th but it was hard work. At about 8am I decided to search the bramble cover on the edge of the gorse patches in the main dell, largely because I repeatedly had Marsh Warbler on my mind (I still do!). As I appeared around a bend in the cover i immediately noticed an assemblage of birds on top of one patch of bramble, lifting the bins I was greeted to a superb male Red-backed Shrike being chaperoned by Linnets and a Reed Bunting ! It then flew on to the top of a nearby patch of gorse when I got the above photographs. It then vanished in to thin air for over 6 hours, to be honest I thought it had gone but Dave arrived mid afternoon and relocated it, again it was very elusive. The last spring male here was as long ago as 1977 when Steve Rooke, then warden at Bempton discovered something like 6 birds between Buckton and Bempton during a classic fall. Later in the morning I also had a fly over Hobby the first of the campaign.

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