Saturday, 27 July 2019

Red-backed Shrike family

We are back in Oslo where temperatures are well over 30C and it is really quite uncomfortable. A good excuse then to sit inside with the fan on, the Tour De France on the TV and a cold beer in the hand. I did go out this morning to Maridalen where the focus was mostly butterflies and dragonflies but I did look up a few times aswell. The male Red-backed Shrike which I had assumed was breeding despite not seeing the female had at least two newly fledged youngsters confirming my suspicions and I also finally saw the female. The unpaired male was also still present and still singing! I also had a third male that looked like he was collecting food for young.

I still have lots to go through and blog about from the north but will just show some Red-backed Shrike images today.

The shrike family were very showy when I first saw them with two youngsters and the male perching openly and close to the road. They were clearly enjoying the sun and food was obviously easy to come by with the male coming with food three times whilst I watched: a bumble, a beetle and a lizard! He obviously wasnæt sure what to do with the lizard and eventually flew into a bush with it. He later came out and fed a strip of meat to one of the youngsters so I assume he had impailed it such that he could pull at the flesh. I should really have stayed longer with the family but I had little time available and wanted to check other areas.

male Red-backed Shrike (tornskate) with a lizard that is missing the end of his tail from a previous encounter with a predator

no problem flying with it

here it has given some of the lizard to one of the young
a bumblebee is a more easily handled food item

I never saw the female bring food to the young. Breeding obviously takes a lot of energy from the females and they disappear shortly after the young have left the nest and leave responsibility to the male

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