|Red-backed Shrike is always a welcome find in London, though not unprecedented in early July.|
With summer well and truly rained off in much of Britain this year, it seems like we have gone straight from spring to autumn - a feeling reinforced for birders in the London area by a procession of rare and scarce migrants which began in early May (see blog posts passim) and has yet to end. The latest notable find, courtesy of Pete Naylor, was a smart male Red-backed Shrike at Lake Farm Country Park in Hayes. As the species no longer breeds annually in Britain, perhaps this is a wandering unpaired bird, or conceivably a failed breeder from the Continent already on the move again. It was rather elusive today but after about an hour with 20 or so observers looking, I managed to locate it briefly perched up on a bramble, and then again lurking lower down in a patch of umbellifers. Another absence followed, but finally it flew over me towards the east side of the site, where another observer refound it in the perimeter hedge. I never tire of looking at shrikes; a notable species in the capital, this is my first since the spring 2010 male at Richmond Park.
|The bird, a smart adult male, eyes a passing hoverfly (or is it a bee?).|