I had a little twitch yesterday, my first for ages. Actually I had two. A desert wheatear (as opposed to the more standard northern wheatear and the more delicious dessert wheatear) had been seen in an area of the island which habitually gets good birds I can't find after they are reported and I decided to give it a go. Predictably I dipped and more predictably when I checked our local bird news later it had been seen.
More excitingly the same news service informed me of a juvenile red-backed shrike five minutes from my house. This enthused me far more than the wheatear because a) it was located somewhere with relatively few hiding spots and should be easier to find; and b) it was a shrike so should be sat relatively proud and hence easier still to find.
Of course it wasn't that simple and after half an hour all I'd found were some delicious parasol mushrooms. I was just about to give it up and accept a second dip in a day (already consoling myself with delicious garlic mushrooms in my mind) when I clocked the bird flitting into a pine. A quick scan and....boom...red-backed shrike:
It was (as shrikes tend to be) smaller than I expected but beautiful in an understated, confident way.
And with that I laid the ghost of the morning's dip to rest and retreated to the kitchen with my mushrooms.