Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Woodchat Shrike.

This superb image below of the Woodchat Shrike brought some excellent memories back to me.

Woodchat Shrike Antonio Puigg

As far as early records in Lancashire in the 1870's are concerned Clifford Oakes considered two Woodchat Shrike records by Mitchell as insufficiently described. A hundred years later the counties first confirmed record of Woodchat Shrike was of a bird found in the grounds of a school at Rossall on the Fylde coast in June 1978, it had taken c.400 previous records of the species in Britain and Ireland for this bird to have found its way into the record books in Lancashire. 

From a personal point of view the memories came flooding back when I recall the time John Leedal and I were spending one of our many days at the time at Rusland in Cumbria in search of the Honey Buzzards, the notes from my little black book on this event read as follows....

Woodchat Shrike. John Leedal.

Woodchat Shrike at Leighton Moss 28 August 1999.

Watching Honey Buzzard at Rusland, John Leedal and myself were alerted to a bird at Leighton Moss by a birder who had joined us at this location. JL and I decided to abandon the Honey Buzzard's and headed off to Leighton Moss to a path behind the Allen Hide where we immediately had superb views of a juvenile Woodchat Shrike perched on a branch. This bird represented the first I had ever seen and was also a first for the RSPB Reserve. A day not ending with a long list of birds but one with two excellent species in the Honey Buzzard and Woodchat Shrike.

Woodchat Shrike. Pete Woodruff.

This bird was my second of the species and had been found ten years after the Leighton Moss bird at the back side of the plantation behind Tower Lodge in Bowland on 29 May 2009. The photograph above was the best I could manage, the bird being some distance away, and with the equipment I have at my disposal.

Red-backed Shrike. Unknown.

The school at Rossall has a good record for 'shrikes', a Red-backed Shrike was found here in 2008 and I saw the bird on 18 September.

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