Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Exotic Visitors

Sticking out as it does into the North Sea, St Abb's Head is a great place for migrant birds to stop of, rest and refuel before continuing on their epic journeys. Spring and autumn are the times that you will find birders stalkng around the Mire Loch and the walled garden behind the lightouse looking for somethng out of the ordinary. Yesterday a yellow-browed warbler and a great grey shrike were spotted.

The yellow-browed warbler (top picture) is a tiny bird, about the same size as a goldcrest, which breeds in Siberia and then migrates south-westwards so they are relatively regular mirgrants, but still fabulous to see. The great grey shrike (bottom picture) is a regular but scarce visitors to the UK in the autumn. They come over from Scandinavia and will often spend the winter in the UK. Shrikes are often referred to as butcher birds as they eat insects and small birds and mammals which they will store in a "larder" inpaled on a thorn in a hawthorn tree.

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