Tuesday 16 September 2014

Butcher Bird in Town

Impressive beast; Red-backed Shrike in the hand (Emma Witcutt)

Juvenile Butcher bird (Emma Witcutt)

The smallest of all birds; Goldcrest (David Kinchin-smith)

Stunning sunset over the islands

Tuesday 16th September comments: Another day another good day on the Farnes. Overnight mist and easterly winds continued to bring in migrant birds, adding to our totals from yesterday.

The stunning Rustic Bunting remained alongside the Little Bunting but most birds were on edge with the arrival of a butcher bird; a Red-backed Shrike. Despite the bird being a recently fledged juvenile, it’s still more than capable of killing and eating the majority of the passerines on the islands, so it was certainly a day not to be caught off guard.

However during the afternoon the tables were turned as the bird was caught and ringed during our bird ringing operations. The beast of a bird certainly let it know what it thought of this by pecking our hands and drawing blood but its all part of the science. I’m glad to report both bird and ringer survived the ordeal and the Shrike was soon back on the prowl across the islands.

It’s never dull on the Farnes and anyone visiting tomorrow (Wednesday) will see bird ringing in operation, so come and have a closer look but if we’ve got a Shrike in the hand…stand clear. Butcher bird in town.

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