Butcher birds like to pounce on their prey
Last week, Dungeness Bird Observatory warden Lee Gregory found a red-backedshrike at the Long Pits. This is a scarce bird in Britain, with only a few pairs that breed every year – although more autumn birds are seen as young birds migrate south.
This individual was also a young bird and would have bred in eastern Europe or Russia and was slightly blown off course from its wintering grounds in east Africa.
Every early autumn a number of young red-backed Shrikes are found along the east coast of Britain.
Shrikes are known as butcher birds and have a tendency to catch moths, mice and small birds and skew them on thorn bushes or barbed-wire fences for later consumption.
They like perching on top of bramble bushes and pouncing down on their prey.
This young bird had a chestnut back and tail, more scalloped underparts and a slightly hooked bill.
It did not hang around, but the next day two birds were found at Reculver in north Kent, so keep an eye out wherever you are in Kent over the next few weeks.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk