A Walk in the Forest?

Great Grey Shrike; Lanius excubitor
Great Grey Shrike; Lanius excubitor by phenolog, on Flickr

Today, during an Atlas TTV another Great Grey Shrike was discovered in the Cynon Valley.  This is a rare species in East Glamorgan, though returning individuals appear to show up most years nowadays.

Our birds tend to turn up in clear fells in upland conifer plantations, and can often be seen perched high on a larch sapling or other prominent perch on the look out for prey.

Of course, shrikes are sometimes referred to as Butcher Birds – Lanius is latin for butcher – after their habit of impaling their prey items on thorns.  This help them tear larger prey items, but also serve as a cache or food store.  I’ve seen this species take lizards in the Forest of Dean, but small birds can be preyed upon too.

Our upland conifer forest can be quiet at times, but they are also home to Crossbills, Lesser Redpolls, Siskins and even Goshawks.  Today’s Shrike of course, shows that you can discover the unexpected too.  Why not get out take a trip to the forest this winter and see what you can find?

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