Lanius excubitor scarce winter visitor

This blackbird-sized shrike turns up most years in the county; arriving, most commonly, in the second week in October. The favoured winter habitat is lowland heath although on passage [October & between February and March] it can turn-up just about anywhere. I found at SSF one morning in October 2004

The most reliable Berkshire site is Wishmoor Bottom where birds were recorded almost annually in the 90s. was reported in Feb 2000 and may well have over-wintered - they are notoriously "wide-ranging" and may occupy a winter territory of as much as fifty hectares. A shrike's eye-view of Wishmoor would certainly include Old Dean Common and Broadmoor Bottom so it's unsurprising that they can be difficult to connect with

There are three birds in this series: the first  was at Cow Down gallops in 2004; the second bird was at Wishmoor in October '07. A great grey shrike's lifespan is about five years so it's very unlikely to be the millenium bird! The remaining pics are of a 1st winter bird (judging from the barring on its breast) found at Wishmoor in Oct '08

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