A stunning male Red-backed Shrike has been faithful to a site at Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands for just over a week now.
Red-backed Shrikes are very rare inland, so to have one within an hours drive of home was too good a chance to miss. I took the following photographs on 4th September 2020. A Common Redstart also made a brief appearance during my time watching the shrike.
Red-backed Shrike tends to be coastal migrant and turns up regularly in early autumn after seasonal easterly winds. They are known as “Drift Migrants” and their arrival is a sure sign that autumn is on its way. Most of the Red-backed Shrikes that arrive on our shores in autumn are from Scandinavia and eastern Europe. They get blown off track as they make their long journey to southern climates to spend the winter. Adult birds usually migrate first, then later in the autumn, the younger birds tend to be more frequently seen.
Often call “The Butcher Bird” due to the birds habit of impaling its prey on thorns or barbed wire, creating a so called larder, storing food for future use.