Do you love our Arne nature reserve? Share your thoughts with the community. Or if you're thinking about visiting and would like to find out more, ask away!


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    GREAT GREY SHRIKE back at Arne today 15/11

  • Great shot, I was watching one at prestwick Carr just past Newcastle airport on Saturday  but despite waiting for 7hrs it was never close enough to attempt even a record shot.... Well done you...

  • Thanks for the post - It's great to have a shrike back on the reserve. Was glad to get a chance to get up to Coombe heath to see it!

  • Great photo and glad to hear it's back.

  • I looked. I did not find. :-(

  • Nice birds to see. Does the RSPB/anyone know what sort of impact GGS's have on dartford warblers, if any? My sightings have always been in warbler areas, and the GGS's seem to stick around for weeks, if not months! Rob

  • Probably not as significant an impact as the cold weather I'm guessing! If dartford's form a large part of their diet it will be going hungry on Coombe Heath this winter.

  • Agreed re cold Winters, Dom. But we've had those. Predation (from whatever) has an impact, and that's compounded after bad Winters.

  • drexyl
    despite waiting for 7hrs

    Blimey I haven't got that much patience

  • In reply to your question about great grey shrike impact on Dartford numbers Rob-

    Yes alot of thought has gone into this question...

    As Dom correctly suggested it's the hard winters that are the real threat to the darty as they don't change their diet from inverterbrates in the winter like, for example the stonechat, which will start eating seeds and berries too.

    But of course there is no denying that a great grey shrike will take and eat small birds including dartford warblers, but whether this would have an impact on over all numbers in an area such as Arne is debatable...Remember; Arne last year had a ggs all winter and still had plenty of pairs of dartford left despite the cold and the shrike, whereas many other heathlands which did not have shrikes lost all their dartfords completely.

    I'm not sure if there has been any published estensive reserch done into this question but I can take a deep breathe and delve away if you wish Rob? But my thoughts (which are by no means expert) would be yes great grey shrike will take Dartford warblers if it can but this will not affect the species dramatically. What the main issues are is the huge loss of habitat and severe weather.

    Sorry for the mini essay all and hope that answers at least a bit of your question Rob.  

  • And as for the effect of hungry barn owl broods on male sand lizards, well... :-)

  • Thanks for the reply, Robert. Great name. I've only been to Arne once. 'My darty's are mostly in Devon. Far less dense in numbers, but where I have become used to seeing them. Seen GGS's there in recent years too...