Sunday, 15 July 2012

Brief encounter

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?).


  1. Excellent photos Dominic, considering how brief the sighting was. I caught up with it on Saturday morning. Great to see a male at this time of year. Just hope the Spoonbill returns to Barnes or Rainham this week!



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