| A smart Woodchat
Shrike at Cemlyn over the weekend was a rare visitor from the Med.
18###Lanius senator/ Woodchat
A red-backed shrike on Cowpen Marsh was a big draw, but an even bigger tick was its cousin, a woodchat
shrike, which had birders wading through waist high bracken above Scaling Dam.
The 4 bird species found infested by Hyalomma ticks carrying AHFV RNA were the western yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava) (A), eastern woodchat
shrike (Lanius senator niloticus) (B), sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) (C), and common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) (D).
It shares this feature with all the other shrike species passing through Egypt in spring: the Red-backed Shrike, the Woodchat
Shrike, the Lesser Grey Shrike, the Isabelline Shrike and of course, the Masked Shrike.
There are also some of the most endangered breeding birds in Portugal or those with a clear decreasing tendency, like the woodchat
shrike (Lanius senator) mentioned by Bento da Cruz, the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) mentioned by Aquilino Ribeiro, the black wheatear (Oenanthe leucura) and the mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus) mentioned by Maria Angelina and Raul Brandao.
Despite its natural beauty, the Clee Hills have a long industrial heritage - mainly quarrying which continues to this day - as well as a wide selection of wildlife, including birds such as peregrine falcons and woodchat
shrikes, and is popular with hill-walkers.
Some 30 different bird species were examined, and one species, the woodchat
shrike, which winters in southern Africa and nests in Central Europe, proved to be a carrier of virus-infected ticks.
Drawing out spring were a few rarities continuing to be found, including a Greenish Warbler on Bardsey and a Woodchat
Shrike on the Great Orme.
The striking Hoopoe bird along with Woodchat
Shrike have been spotted around the country since the beginning of April.
To be on the conservative side, we assume here that the diet of any species considered to be acridivorous does not consist by more than 50 % of grasshopper prey, even if we know for certain species (Montagu's Harrier, Lesser Kestrel; Mullie 2009) or suspect for others (White Stork, Abyssinian Roller, Coracias abyssinica, Woodchat
Shrike, Lanius senator) (this study) that the proportion by weight of grasshoppers in their diet may be as high as 80-90%.
Prince Siegfried was impressive in the Salisbury maiden won by last year's winner Fast Company, and by Woodchat
back in 1992.