On shrike-watch again today. I was bemoaning the pollution haze and wondering whether it was safe to breathe. Then I heard the magical sound of the Scarlet minivet calling. Pericrocotus flammeus is a cracking bird. I guess it is locally common here but it is a flashy thing – it is as it says on the box – scarlet. At least the male is. The female is yellow. Still a very attractive bird but I am afraid, as so often in life, the glass ceiling has handed the laurels to the male.
On this occasion the three birds (all males) flew tantalizingly close then disappeared. The air was also scarlet with my language. And then:
“But soft what bird through yonder hedgerow breaks, It is the male and scarlet is the minivet.”
The blooming thing landed right across the path from me and proceeded to sing its little heart out:
You can even see the red gape and with a little magnification (and imagination), probably what caterpillar it had for breakfast.
All I did to this was crop very slightly to reformat from landscape to portrait and a touch of ‘sharpen for web’. Otherwise this is exactly what the 7D and the 800mm F5.6 gave me. So shiver me timbers and fluff up my plumage, this was a fantastic bird to gladden any cold heart.
I think this shrike is a good talisman……….. even if it won’t pose itself.