Early September, ideal conditions and lots of migrant birds. Well that's the theory and judging by the counts that the group of Bockhill Birders had the day lived up two the billing. One of the stars of the show was a Red-backed Shrike in the Freedown and there was another at Hope Point.
Red-backed Shrike, sitting alertly near the top of the hawthorn hedge. The scalloping on the breast indicated that it is a juvenile bird. The Red-back Shrike was formally a scarce breeding bird in Kent. In 1952 there were 15 pairs recorded, but this soon dwindled and the last know breeding was in 1974. The rest of Britain soon followed although occasional breeding has been reported in Scotland, probably birds from the Scandinavian population and in the last a couple of years a pair or two from Devon.
Another of the species that has become scarce as a breeding bird, although they still can be found, around the county they have decreased by around 70% in the last 25 years. Still today they were very evident as migrating birds made the most of ideal feeding conditions.