Peter Combridge found a Red-backed Shrike late afternoon near Calartha wood, Pendeen and phoned the news out to locals. The bird was always mobile, feeding well as if just arrived and was difficult to pin down. After some brief views Peter said it could be a Brown Shrike based on the brown mantle and generally brownish look to the upperparts. Nigel Rogers was also thinking along the same lines. Myself, Peter Clement and Mashuq Ahmad later relocated the bird lower down the valley in fading light. In the two minute scope views we had, we managed to see and photo the key Brown Shrike features that Peter Combridge raised earlier eg. outer tail feather, brown mantle con-colourous with the crown and tail, strong dark mask, lack of upperpart barring and the well barred flanks. (Thanks to Pete Combridge for finding it and getting the news out promptly).
Brown Shrike breeds in Siberia from the Ob River basin East to the Sea of Okhotsk and Kamchatka, North Japan and throughout much of East China. Winters in the Indian Subcontinent. To the end of 2020, there are 39 UK records.
In Cornwall the first record was in 2009 at Kynance, Lizard, followed by a stunning adult female on the cycle track at Sennen in May 2010. Of interest, the valley from Calartha down to the coastguard houses is arguably the best site in Cornwall for shrikes. Daurian, Turkestan, Red-backed and now Brown Shrike have all been recorded here.
Previous Cornwall records:
2009 Sept, Kynance Road, Lizard
2010 May, Sennen
2015 Oct, Porthgwarra
2018 Sept, Soapy Cove, Lizard
2020 Oct, Chapel Porth, St Agnes (yet to be submitted)
2021 Oct, Calartha Valley, Pendeen
|Pic by Steve Rogers.|