Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) - Burton Mill Pond, West Sussex. 15th June 2008.

Red-backed Shrike

Roy and I headed off to Burton Mill Pond, West Sussex today to catch up with the long staying male Red-backed Shrike, on arrival we soon spotted the Shrike sat in the hedgerow near to Shopham bridge. It showed fantastically well as it searched for food around the paddocks, after each sortie it perched in full view for a couple of minutes before continuing to hunt. this is my first ever sighting of a male in breeding plumage and a sight to behold. He continued to hunt and on occasion plucking a number of large insects from both air and ground and then resumed back to a number of perching points along the hedgerow and fence.Once a common and widespread breeding bird in Britain the Red-backed Shrike has gradually declined in the UK and in 1989, for the first time ever none where found breeding on these shores, in 1999 the last successful breeding occurred but now is no longer an annual breeding species in Britain.

On our way back we stopped off at RSPB Church Wood near Hedgley, Bucks, in the hope that we might get a glimpse of Lesser-spotted Woodpecker. Unfortunately there was no sight or sound of any but we did find 4 very young Wren chicks hiding in a bramble thicket, I hate to use the cute phrase but they were very adorable and undoubtedly mother nature at her best, a truly memorable sighting. Elsewhere in the wood plenty of Blue & Great Tit chicks, Nuthatch and 3 good views of Treecreeper, chiffchaff calling and another catching insects by the Redwood trees and we found a very small Woodpecker feather which I'm still trying to identify.

Last stop was Ferry Lane at Mill End, Bucks so Roy could get his first year sighting of Ring-necked Parakeet, as we drove down the lane 2 flew along the river and after turning the car round and driving back up the lane 1 flew over the car roof giving great views through the handily opened sunroof.

Added To My Year List.

183. Red-backed Shrike

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