Friday, 23 September 2016

Lesser Grey Shrike

23rd September 2016 - Jennycliff, Plymouth

 

I do like a nice shrike so a bit of off-patch twitching was in order to see the rather nice Lesser Grey Shrike at Jennycliff. Norbert Lefranc and I have a revised edition of 'Shrikes of the World' in progress - can't believe it's been 20 years since we finished the 1st - so I thought I'd do a little field research.


Easy to find and relatively unperturbed by people, it was a bit mobile and had a habit of perching just half in sight and half obscured by bushes. The solution was to find a spot with a reasonable view and wait as it moved around. After a couple of hours and a few hundred 'record shots' it circled around, moved up the cliff and perched for a minute or two on a hawthorn only a few metres away.

Lesser Grey Shrike - 23/9/2016 Jennycliff, Plymouth

Lesser Grey Shrike - 23/9/2016 Jennycliff, Plymouth

Lesser Grey Shrike - 23/9/2016 Jennycliff, Plymouth

Lesser Grey Shrike - 23/9/2016 Jennycliff, Plymouth

Lesser Grey Shrike - 23/9/2016 Jennycliff, Plymouth

Lesser Grey Shrike - 23/9/2016 Jennycliff, Plymouth

So, no prizes for saying it's an adult - a juvenile or 1st winter would not have that blackish forehead and would still have obviously pale-fringed wing coverts even if a little worn by now. It's moulting, or may have interrupted moult during migration. Like most shrikes, Lesser Greys have a partial post-breeding moult involving head and body and often, as in this bird, a tertial or two; the grey feathers on the forehead are new non-breeding plumage. It seems to be also missing a central tail feather, possibly moult, possibly accidental loss.

It's hard to say for sure what sex it is but, given the width of black on the forehead and the completely white T5 (just visible on the bottom photo), my money's on it being a male.

2 comments:

  1. thanks Matt, had to wait around a couple of hrs but well worth it.

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