Daurian Shrike - Lanius isabellinus

On Sunday December 8th 1996 at 12:15 hours Daniel Duff, Peter Herkenrath and Thomas Bamberger from Germany found an Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus at Lauwersoog (Gr). It disappeared however, but was found back later in the afternoon at 15.30 hours 1.5 kilometres further west (on the Frisian side of the Lauwersmeer) and it showed itself for 5 minutes to six local birders before disappearing in the dense fog on a small inaccessible island, 50 meters offshore. The following days it showed the same routine: it flew once or twice a day from the small island to feed in the reeds and a small parking lot just west of Lauwersoog, then it flew back to the island. On Wednesday December 11th several birders were able to take some photographs. This bird turned out to be a first-winter and the first December record in Northwest Europe. It stayed till Wednesday December 11th and was not found back the following days, despite intense searches. For me this sighting was a milestone, because at that time it was my 400th species in the Netherlands!

11 December 1996, Sluizen Lauwersoog Fr; © Sander Lagerveld.

11 December 1996, Sluizen Lauwersoog Fr; © Sander Lagerveld.

11 December 1996, Sluizen Lauwersoog Fr; © Eric Koops.

Note the lack of a clear supercilium, buffish tint on cheeks and underparts, no clear scaly underside. The tertials are quite umarked, not showing a clear subterminal fringes. This all points to L (i) isabellinus (formerly speculigerus). Light centered medium coverts with dark terminal fringes point to a first-winter.

This was the fourth record for the Netherlands (cf Dutch Birding 18: 340-341, 1996). The first three were all on the isle of Texel (NH), with a first-winter bird on 18-19th October 1985 (cf Dutch Birding 18: 131-133, 1996, but not identified as a phoenicuroides or isabellinus), the second also a first-winter on 21st October 1993 (cf Dutch Birding 16: 226-229, 1994, but not identified as a phoenicuroides or isabellinus) and the third an adult male on 4th May 1995 (cf Dutch Birding 18: 129-131, 1996, identified as L (i) isabellinus).
For more details on the occurrence of Isabelline Shrike-taxa in Europe, see Dutch Birding 30 (2): 78-92, 2008.

Now you can go to the main-index, the 1996-index or the next species, the Lesser Canada Goose.