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Possible Brown Shrike (1 Viewer)

Ilya Maclean

charlatan
Attached are a couple of photos taken by Thor Veen of the possible Brown Shrike on The Lizard, Cornwall originally found by Tony Blunden. More photos on my blog:

http://piratebirding.blogspot.com/

Would appreciate any comments on the ID
 

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seconded.

At the time - the lack of any contrasting rufous in the tail and the lack of obvious barring on the back (evident in the field more than from the photos). Reading more about it now, I'm realising it's a bit more complicated than that. I'll post more thoughts and field notes on my blog in due course (when I've had more time to read about it). I should add though, that personally at no point in the field was I particularly confident with the ID, although others were more confident and clinched better views than me. As yet, I'm undecided between any of the three candidate spp (+ more subspecies) and would appreciate any comments on seperation. Our decision to put it out as a probable was with some reservation and after some time and was primarily with the intention of getting some help in clinching it as the bird was mobile and wary (and some of us weren't able to stay for much longer). Unfortunately, our decision seems to have had the opposite effects as the masses have chased it remorselessly and to my knowledge, better views haven't been obtained.
 
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Some of these 'shrike' id's are fraught with complexity....you are right to be cautious Ilya.....! [shame it's being chased about so much]!
 
Reading more about it now, I'm realising it's a bit more complicated than that. I'll post more thoughts and field notes on my blog in due course - at no point in the field was I particularly confident with the ID, although others were more confident and clinched better views than me. As yet, I'm undecided between any of the three candidate spp (+ more subspecies)

From the pictures I have seen on your web page I like you am undecided IMO - they are a very complex group, an ID from a few distant pics based on a few pointers that some suggest is prone to error - we catch and ring lots of various shrikes here - few ever conform to the standard .... If I can get more definite information I will contact you directly hopefully some of the specialists on BF in the meantime will pass by and make some comments.

I wouldn't blame yourself for the way others have behaved - hopefully some will read this know who they are and realize they are a bunch of A.. H.... if they want to sue me I shall be back at Christmas
 
Esp.on pic. two wich is in more shaded light i think the whole colouration supports brown. Would be great with better/closer shots where one could see the tertial-pattern better etc.
 

Dead right good article - last para reads as follows

Especially considering the existence of hybrids, and the tendency to vagrancy shown by both Brown and Isabelline Shrike, it seems therefore that all extralimital Brown or Isabelline Shrikes, whether considered "typical" or "atypical", need to be identified on the basis of a broad range of characters, preferably supported by in-hand measurements.
 
Yes - phoned-up RBA and asked them to put out a message to that effect

Sounds like it was chased all over, leading to its early disappearance and possibly meaning its identity may not be established. As a Lizard birder formerly found "guilty" of suppression, this may just be enough to return me to my old ways.
 
I've just perused Tim Worfolk's article in Dutch Birding (2000, 22:323-362), but it does not really help me.
Some immature Brown Shrikes show pale lores. Total lack of barring on back should exclude collurio, but the greyish nape (true, fiction?) points against cristatus. I'd lean towards phoenicuroides, but if the outer web of the tail is pale, that theory can go out of the window.
 
I'll fess up to being one of the "A H" in the field. this afternoon. The message to stay out of the fields didn't filter down all channels. It looked like it was open access..
I'd just spotted the bird on a hedge line over 200 yards away, so a group of us went in to scope it. As more people turned up and we lined up across the field it became obvious that the bird was in an awkard position (for getting better views without disturbing it) as it was feeding on the back side of a hedge and no easy way to get a clear line of sight. When I left some people had closed down the distance to maybe 30 yards - possibly enough to disturb an abnormally skittish shrike - however they certainly weren't chasing it around the fields.
 
Aye, but before anyone starts slinging mud they should magine what they'd do themselves, if they had just spotted the bird an entire field away, none of the original finders present, and an ungated entrace before them..

Lets just hope the bird is still present, and someone can get a decent shot of the pp and/or a spread tail.

My first impression was that the bird looked good for a brown shrike, being long tailed and short winged and fairly concolourous.

Bearing in mind I've seen more browns than I've seen both of the other two candidates put together - and none of them in that plumage :)
 
Many thanks for all the comments thus far, and keep them coming. For info, there's a concurrent thread on surfbirds:

http://www.surfbirds.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=13

As said, I'll post more when I've had time to gather my thoughts and read around the subject more.

In the mean time - comments suggest it's an interesting bird and I'd encourage people to search for it tomorrow morning ASAP (frustratingly, I can't). Please, please, please do consider parking & access constraints - i.e. don't enter fields and also be patient. The bird was wary & mobile, but often did return to the same favoured locations if left undisturbed.
 
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