Sunday, 25 May 2014

Red-backed Shrike

There are various pleasurable ways one can be woken up. For a birder (who is sleeping alone) then I guess the sound of a scarce bird outside the bedroom window must rank quite high up there and is certainly better than the vibrating of a phone with a message that someone else has seen a rare bird. I have been woken by the sound of singing Pied Flycatcher (svarthvit fluesnapper) in the garden and last March a drumming pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers (dvergspett).

Today it was again a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and this time a male drumming on a lamppost. He seemed to be alone and to be drumming so late in the spring suggests an unmated male who is searching for a mate. I pulled some clothes and went out armed with my 500mm (better than being seen naked in the garden with only your 500mm to cover your pride) but only managed a couple of bad pictures before it flew into a tree and vanished for me.

After this I had a quick Tour de Maridalen where I finally scored with Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) although in heavy rain it was just brief encounter. My bird was a lone female at the 2012 breeding site. Most records reported so far have been of singing males and I realised I have never heard this species singing before - all the birds I have found breeding in Maridalen have already been paired and it would seem that the male has no need to sing after this. Hopefully though a male will find this female soon and there will be song in the first few days. An unseen singing Common Rosefinch (rosenfink) and a displaying Snipe (enkeltbekkasin) also made themselves known in the rain but there were no obvious grounded migrants.

In the afternoon a swimming trip with the girls allowed me a 5 minute stop at Fornebu which gave me a pair of Red-backed Shrikes looking like they are already settling down to breed and singing Wryneck (vendehals), Whitethroat (tornsanger), Garden Warbler (hagesanger) and Spotted Flycatcher (gråfluesnapper) – one of my better 5 minutes (although according to the girls it was 9...)

Today’s photos do down in the why does he bother category...
this might fall into the category "doc photo" or maybe not. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

I've been going on about this species for a while so had to show a photo. When you don't have a camera with you a telephone camera through binoculars sometimes works and sometimes not. Red-backed Shrike male

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