Thursday, 17 October 2013

Time flies when you're talking Izzy Shrikes

9th November 2000, Old Fall Flamborough saw my first UK Isabelline Shrike - I remember the day like it was yesterday. The bird had turned up the previous day, we were on a University field trip to the Sea Life centre in Scarborough so Ade and I went in his car rather than on the coach with our fellow students so we could nip off pronto to get to Flamborough to see the shrike. After a hike down to Old Fall we sat and waited and got some fairly nice views of what I considered to be a pretty grotty looking 1st winter bird. I'm pretty sure from my notes it was a fairly good fit for a Daurian Shrike with the caveat that it was a 1st winter bird... This bird did give quite close views but I don't have any photos myself - would be keen to see if anyone else has any - will check my back catalogue of reports? (It may have just looked grotty due to the weather!)

Skip forward almost 13 (!!!) years to today, I was working within reach of the coast so after my survey I headed across to Flamborough to see the current Isabelline (Daurian) Shrike. Totally different weather than the my last Flamborough bird and whether the bird was a bit smarter or the sun and bright sun made it look smarter I'm not sure. It showed distantly, but well in the scope as it fed on various insects in various gardens. I got a couple of phone-scoped record shots (below), it does seem to fit Daurian more than Turkestan Shrike I think.

I did see the 'Buckton Shrike' in 2007, which was also an interesting bird... possibly of a race of Turkestan Shrike I believe?

There's an interesting article by Dutch Birding on the Occurrence and Identification of "Isabelline Shrikes".

Daurian Shrike (phone-scoped)

Daurian Shrike (phone-scoped)

Daurian Shrike (phone-scoped)

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