Friday, 20 September 2013

BROWN SHRIKE in Hampshire

Gone are the times when BROWN SHRIKE was a mega but this first for Hampshire was a nice surprise today.......Hampshire patcher Bob Marchant takes up the story.....

''Found the shrike at 09:55 this morning on brambles by the railings guarding the Chilling
sub-station tunnel entrance (SU 500 042). Initially with a brief 2 minute view in poor light
I considered it as a juvenile Red-backed Shrike. Not seen again for about 20 minutes when it showed
in cover and further away by the Solent Way footpath , then flew over the bramble patch
out of sight. I moved up to the footpath and refound the bird on the fenceline running NE alongside
a large bramble patch. Although the bird was some distance away, some 80 – 100m,
the light was more favourable and it became apparent that the bird had more of the
features of a 1w BROWN SHRIKE – chestnut head, brown upperparts not noticeably
vermiculated, long brown tail with reddish rump/base of tail, short primary projection
reaching only to end of reddish patch, buff underparts with noticeable vermiculation
(when not in bright sunlight). The dark mask also continued to the front of the eye
tapering down to the bill. Bare parts appeared grey, bill dark tipped. All of these salient features were confirmed with the gathering birders arriving on the scene, although throughout the day the bird remained distant. It remained until dusk, by which time no less than 75 birders had connected''

I arrived on site at around 1600 hours and remained on site until 1830. Throughout this period, the bird was showing well but distantly along the fenceline, making frequent sorties to the ground for food. I took some 100 or so shots but all were just record - a selection of the best being published below -:

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