Thursday, 15 September 2016

RED - BACKED SHRIKE - Beer Head, Seaton - Thur 15th Sep

Early this morning, I heard reports of the arrival of a Red-backed Shrike at nearby Beer Head. After the short drive, I found the bird easily with no stress! And what a gorgeous bird it was perching conspicuously on bushes near the headland under brilliant blue sky and with wind slightly to the east - a fantastic few minutes with such a striking and confiding scarce visitor to this part of the country. It is more years than I care to remember since I last saw one - at a time when they still bred in Norfolk.

The Shrike appeared fairly settled and perched openly in the sunshine for most of the time I was there apart from when a Kestrel approached a little too close when it started to call, flicking its tail, before diving briefly into cover. It seemed to be pretty successful in finding food - at least 2 wasps, 1 large green grasshopper (ID'd later as a Great Green Bush Cricket) and during the time I was there it also caught and impaled a second Bush Cricket on a blackthorn spike, creating a "larder" for later, and showing the characteristic behaviour of the "butcher bird".

Thanks to the finder Bun @halek58 and Steve W @axebirder who quickly relaid excellent directions. Brilliant bird!

Red-backed Shrike with Great Green Bush Cricket prey

Despatching the Bush Cricket

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