Today the news broke of a probable brown shrike Lanius cristatus just to the east of the Hook with Warsash, Hampshire County Council reserve. The bird was originally found at around 10:30 and reported at a red-backed shrike L. collurio, but by 12:30 it was being suggested as brown. I have seen one of these before in the UK and many on my travels around India, but this bird was 10 minutes from my front door and a first for Hampshire (that's if its accepted and not re-identified again!).
The bird was showing well most of the time, albeit quite distantly, which was not ideal for getting photos (although I did grab a couple of record shots). Given the birds distance, the debate of its identity initially, and the difficulty generally presented by shrikes, I thought I would spend my time watching it. On first impressions the bird looked good for brown shrike, with generally brown upperparts, which lacked any strong barring as red-backed, and faint barring on the underparts, the flanks were washed buff. The mask was very well defined and extended all the way to the bill, which appeared quite heavy, although with nothing for comparison that was a bit subjective. Structurally the bird also looked very good for brown with a long slim tail, the primary projection was short and the tertials were dark centred.
|Brown Shrike - Hook with Warsash, Hampshire|
The bird was performing very well and appeared quite chat like, continually cocking its tail. It spent most of its time feeding along a length of barbed wire fence, regularly dropping to the ground to grab something before returning to its perch. As more people arrived the consensus of opinion was that the bird was indeed a brown shrike, and based on what I had seen I was fully agreed.
|Brown Shrike - Hook with Warsash|
After watching the bird for a good hour and half it was time to head off, hopefully it will hang around as I would like to get the chance to get some better photos, apologies for those posted so far.