Thursday, 7 July 2011

Red-backed Shrikes on Chelmos, Greece

June 18-21, 2011:
High on the slopes of Mount Chelmos in the Greek Peloponnese is a large plateau known as the Xerocampos. It is a wide area of scrub and grassland at about 1800 metres altitude with scattered shrubs of the endemic hawthorn (Crataegus pycnoloba). Here is the ideal habitat for Red-backed Shrikes of which several were seen, including breeding pairs, on a recent visited. Typically perched on the tips of the hawthorns the birds could command a wide view as they hunted for the abundant insect prey in the grassland below. Despite keeping to their approximate territories it was difficult to be sure just how many birds were present as some young ones were also hiding in cover but there would be at least ten individuals present.

[The typical shrike habitat on the Xerocampos]

A series of photographs, in no special sequence, is shown below