Monday, 17 November 2014

Isabelline Shrike of the Turkestan race

On Sunday 9th Nov Royston Wilkins and Brian Mellow found a shrike perched up on the brambles as they were leaving Pendeen.  Initial reaction was naturally a Red-backed Shrike but doubts pretty quickly set in.  Word soon spread and a whole raft of suggestions ensued, including hybrids, Over the next week, many photo's have been taken and circulated widely.  The general consensus among shrike experts is that this bird is indeed a first year bird of the Turkestan race of Isabelline Shrike.

Nationally this is a rare subspecies but in Cornwall, there are two previous records assigned to this form.  In 1989, a popular first winter bird was present at Zennor from Oct 27th - 31st.  In 2002, a first year male was found at Porthgwarra on June 26th.

The nominate race of Isabelline Shrike is also referred to as Daurian Shrike and there are two records for Cornwall: a first year bird opposite the airfield at Nanquidno Oct 25th.  A stunning adult male was well watched at Pendeen in early October 2013.

Turkestan Shrike, Pendeen, 16th November 2014.

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