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Thursday, 19 May 2011


1st summer BALEARIC WOODCHAT SHRIKE, (form badius)!!  

  Mark and I caught the rib this morning from the quay and made our way to St Martins, hoping there might be a slim chance of relocating yesterdays LITTLE BITTERN that John Metcalf observed flying east over Little Arthur Farm! Soon as we arrived on Martins we both headed off to the farm to look for the WOODCHAT SHRIKE that's been there for over a week. On the way there we met Dave, a visiting birder who's spending a week on the island, and he noted  that the shrike didn't show any white at the base of the primaries, but the primaries were worn and that could be the reason why the white is absent.
   Mark picked the shrike up distantly just above the farm. On looking through my scope, you could clearly see no white patch at the base of the primaries. We made our way down to see if we could get closer to the bird. However, the shrike proved very mobile and was always distant in the two hours we observed it. We were later joined by Robin and J Metcalf and after some discussion, it was decided to put the news out to Birdnet to let everyone know that it was a BALEARIC WOODCHAT SHRIKE of the form baduis!! However, the worn primaries didn't help the situation, maybe explaining why there is no white patch. But after speaking to some of the guys on St Mary's, who are more experienced on this subject, just like Will said when we met him on St Martins, they told us that this would not effect the white primarie patch and would make it a 1st summer and not an adult.

  This shrike was found on the 10th May at Pound Lane near the fire station until it moved to Little Arthur Farm. All this time it was overlooked as a Woodchat Shrike of the senator form. This is easily done and if it was not for Dave pointing out about the wings, then maybe we could of also overlooked it.

  This is only the second to be recorded on Scilly and there are less than ten UK records of this race. The Scilly sighting was back in May '99 on St Agnes and at the time was only the fifth UK record! This too was overlooked and as a result, was not seen by many birders. I never saw that bird, but ten years later Ren and I identified it from video footage that was taken of that shrike. We had to wait for another twelve years until we all saw one!

  Other birds of note seen on Martins included, a single male Whitethroat and Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear, 2 Kestrel, 11 Whimbrel and in the Great Bay, a Great Northern Diver.
Mark Prestwood 

Robin Mawer 


Note the lack of white patch at the base of the primaries on all the above photos. Also the brownish worn primaries and the more orange crown than that of the senator Woodchat Shrike.  

1st summer BALEARIC WOODCHAT SHRIKE, (form badius) Robin Mawer
This is only the second to be recorded on Scilly and there are less than ten UK records of this race.  

  An evening walk up to the Deep Point found 3 Harbour Porpoises just off the rocks, then I heard a SHORT-TOED LARK to my right and went looking for it! I had no idea where it was until I flushed from the bank below me and watched a pale lark, calling all the time, fly low over to Porth Hellick Down where I lost it over the brow hill. I went in search of it and saw it three times in flight. I never saw it once on the deck and as Robin couldn't find the one on the airfield, I guess that this might be that bird. Up to 9 Wheatear were also in the area and at Porth Hellick, there were 220+Swallow, 35+House Martin and now 3 Snipe..

2 of the 3 Harbour Porpoises off Deep Point 
Thanks Paul 

Sunset from Porth Hellick this evening 

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