14 November 2016 – Red-Backed Shrike and other birds at Essaouira

During a visit to Essaouira from 1 to 8 November, there was a good variety of less common migrants, as well as the usual winter visitors.  These included Crag Martin (3 Nov), Lapwing (6 Nov), more than 20 Red-Crested Pochard (7 Nov), Kentish Plover, Golden Plover (both 6 Nov), Spotted Redshank (2 and 6 Nov), an Osprey (present throughout the week), Reed Warbler (2 – 5 Nov), Black Redstart (3 and 8 Nov), Blue Rock Thrush, Pied Flycatcher and Red-Backed Shrike (all on 3 Nov). A single Eleanora’s Falcon was also seen on 2 Nov, the latest date I have recorded them in recent years.  Among the regular winter visitors, Stonechat seemed particularly abundant this autumn (Peter Greig-Smith)

One thought on “14 November 2016 – Red-Backed Shrike and other birds at Essaouira

  1. Red-Backed Shrike Lanius collurio

    On 3 November 2016 I observed a bird that I identified as a first-winter Red-Backed Shrike, in a location approx 5 km inland from Essaouira, between the villages of Ghazoua and Diabat. The location was a stony hillside dotted with Argan trees and Agave plants.

    In mid afternoon, in bright conditions, I spotted the bird perched on top of a thorny bush, at some distance. The immediate impression was of a bird smaller than a Southern Grey Shrike (also in the area) but larger than a finch or bunting. It’s perching posture was noticeably upright.

    As I approached closer, it was clearly a shrike. I could see the following plumage features:
    – Pale grey head
    – A dark patch behind the eye
    – The back (which I was seeing from behind) was red-brown, with dark markings across it
    – The wings were also largely red-brown, with obvious buff edges to the coverts and at least some flight feathers
    – Though partly obscured, the underparts appeared to be plain, dirty white
    – The tail was mid-brown (not reddish) with light-coloured (off-White) sides.
    – The bill was partly pale (slightly yellowish)

    The bird’s behaviour was typical of a shrike: periodically dropping to the ground from its perch, and returning to the same or a similar perch, always in an upright position. I saw no wing or tail movements on landing, and it remained silent. It flew off eventually in a straight path, low over the ground.

    I concluded that this could only be a first-year Red-Backed Shrike.

    Peter Greig-Smith
    15 November 2016

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *