la roque gageac

Dordogne Wildlife Diary

  • Woodchat Shrike (almost) in the garden

    Around 7.30am this morning I heard a rather unfamiliar call emanating from the garden over the road. I was just walking down to the barn to move a few chairs out of the house. When I looked up from where the call was coming from I saw a shrike's outline amongst the branches of a small tree not far away, and it jogged my mind - of course a Woodchat. This species has become scarce in central France and is only really common now around the Mediterranean and Iberia. French birder friends of mine say that when they were young they could often find Woodchat Shrike (Pie-grièche à tête-rousse) nesting in scrubby habitats locally. Sadly those days are long gone. This year I knew of a pair on the pastures west of Bergerac and a few others were highlighted on Faune-Aquitaine (the local wildlife recorders website) this spring. Such a beautiful bird - they are always such a pleasure to see. In fact they are really little raptors dressed up as pretty songbirds, sometimes maintaining a grisly 'larder' of their captures on a thorn bush. Indeed the song is a pleasant enough chattering warble, though the call I heard was rougher, a quickly repeated 'ge, ge,ge, ge' etc.

    Thanks to Mike Stamp for this great image of a male Woodchat Shrike near Bergerac in June.


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Welcome to my Dordogne Wildlife Diary

In it you will find regular wildlife sightings in the département of Dordogne, notably of birds and butterflies in southern Dordogne where I live. In adddition there will be occasional references to neighbouring départements such as Lot et Garonne, Gironde, the Lot and places further afield. Check out the Faune-Aquitaine website for the latest wildlife sightings in Dordogne and Aquitaine.

Where possible I will add photographs to illustrate the entry. Many thanks to Margaret Mills (family photo) and Denis Cauchoix (birdwatcher photo).

I hope that you enjoy my diary and look forward to your comments.

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