Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Red-backed Shrike - Sandy Point, Hayling Island 15th September

I had a meeting nearby and couldn't resist popping in for a look at the 1st winter Red-backed Shrike that had been showing well, on and off, since 5th September on Hayling Island. The bird has been frequenting the Bramble and Gorse scrub in the south-east corner of Sandy Point Local Nature Reserve. There is no public access to the reserve due to the delicate nature of the dune flora and fauna and the bird is viewed from the beach. I arrived just as the bird had dropped out of view and after a 10 minute wait it appeared distantly and looking rather bedraggled having just been bathing. After a quick preen and a bit of a sunbath the bird headed to the eastern edge of the reserve closer to the beach and began feeding on craneflies and grasshoppers. Always a little distant for the camera it none the less showed reasonably well.

Also at the reserve were 1st year male Redstart and a Dartford Warbler. Offshore were at least 30 Mediterranean Gull, five Sandwich Tern and three Common Tern. I also had a nice chat with Martin Peacock at the site who's blog, Martin's Sussex Birding Blog, can be seen here, I am sure he will post his pictures of the Red-backed Shrike on the blog in due course

1st winter Red-backed Shrike - Always a little distant for the camera it nonetheless showed fairly well amongst the Brambles. The top image shows it with a grasshopper probably a Field Grasshopper or possibly Lesser Marsh Grasshopper

 First year male Redstart