Tuesday 18 October 2022

Homeyer's Great Grey Shrike

 This is a possible first for the Uk, and seem to have all the credentials.

The bird spent about 1- days at Hillswick but i left it until the crowds died down
I only met three other birders from Doncaster who arrived at the same time

after a searcg of over an hour we had all but given up but i took a short cut back to the car passing the shop and there it was on the wires briefly before flying up towards the hotel. I manage to call the others and we got fine views as it perched on wires
It then flew down into a nearby garden giving even better views
This is the south east Russian bird which normally winters in India


Great Grey Shrikes have taken a bit of a nosedive in recent winters, with just 17 confirmed birds reported in the winter of 2021-22. The first bird to be reported this autumn was in Shetland, at Hillswick, Mainland. However, when pictures made it online the bird revealed a lot of white in the wing and tail. Crucially, the two outermost tail fathers (T6 and T5) are wholly white and the primary patch is also large (c 50% of exposed primaries at broadest point) and runs along the secondaries. The bird also has a pale rump, blurry white scapulars, and a white supercilium that bridges the bill. Plus, the bird's underside is relatively plain, with subtle scaling on the breast. OK there's variation/overlap with excubitor but to have so many pro-homeyeri features makes this a good candidate for Britain's first accepted

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