Lesser Grey Shrike

Sometimes fate loves me. I was already at work in the North Mainland this morning when news broke of a Lesser Grey Shrike a couple of miles away from me. By the time I was back at the car it was lunchtime, and it seemed churlish not to go see it. I’m glad I did.

grave for the unknown bumblebee

An absolute peach of a bird, and reasonably confiding – as shrikes go, anyway. It spent its time hunting bumblebees and large flies in and around a kirkyard, using the headstones and kirkyard wall as vantage points to launch flycatching sallies – mostly fast horizontal dashes, but occasionally down onto the mown grass, and once or twice towering high up into the air above the graves.

Lesser Grey Shrike 026

Finally, to cap it all it started singing  – a surprisingly sweet, jangly kind of song. I always expect shrikes to croak, or be harsh. I don’t know why… 

Lesser Grey Shrike 018

Many thanks to JN for the loan of his camera – as usual, my battery failed at a critical juncture. Note to self… a spare battery and a new lens…

Lesser Grey Shrike 008


3 Responses

  1. I once heard a Northern Shrike sing in winter and was also both surprised and amazed at the delicacy of its song.

  2. Nice pix Jon – shame the light could not have been less harsh for us eh?

    • Yep, it was pretty unforgiving. Still, made watching it more pleasant than it might otherwise have been in worse conditions, and I bet it wouldn’t have burst into song if the rain was lashing down. 😉

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