Sunday, 3 August 2014

Red-backed Shrike at Baston Fen, Lincolnshire

I am ashamed to say that I had never seen a Red-backed Shrike in this country. It's a very regular bird, so much so that I have just thought that one day I will see one and haven't 'chased' the species. However, with a very nice male turning up on my doorstep, so to speak, I had to go and see this lifer.

The bird was reported early Saturday morning on Birdguides and a phone call from Mike Weedon confirmed it. I had to wait until after work, hoping that the bird would linger until then. A huge rain storm curtailed my working day by an hour, but unfortunately this storm also stopped the reports of sightings. I left for Baston fen in a positive frame of mind, but after a quick conversation with Mike, my mood darkened somewhat with him telling me that the bird hadn't been seen since 3pm and the last time that it was seen a Sparrowhawk was paying attention to the bird.

I needn't have worried. I arrived at the site and walked the supposed 1/2 mile (felt more like 1 mile) to the birds last refuge and there on top of a hawthorn bush was a rather splendid male Red-backed Shrike being harassed by Reed Buntings. This was obviously annoying the Shrike and so he preceded to hide deep in the hawthorn and refused to come out again. I left as darkness fell, never seeing him in the open again, but very satisfied in having finally 'scratched' the 'itch' of a Red-backed Shrike.

Can you spot him? A super-cropped version is below

Same as above!

Same view!

At least you can see him!

Sort of!

No better, I am afraid!


  1. Looking at the RSPB site, which I just did, it seems you were quite lucky to see one when and where you did. It shows a strange distribution pattern there. It's an attractive bird though.
    I just got back from Bedford's Park, Havering-atte-Bower, Essex where I had hoped to see a Hobby swooping over the lake for Damselflies but no luck! I'm there again in four weeks.
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

    1. Hi Bazza,
      Very lucky. This is the first time that this breed of bird has been seen in our area for a number of years, since I have lived in Peterborough, so not a common bird by any means. Good luck in seeing a Hobby, a great bird that will be leaving our shores in September/October for warmer climes.

  2. Well done John, another great find.

    1. Thanks Roy, I only wish that I had found it!


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