What a stunning bird, it hunted along the river edge, perching in the stunted willows to scan the field below and occasionally hoping down to chase after some prey-item. I watched it for a while when it appeared to take a small rodent from the long grass. It then took off into a willow clump and began impaling its victim on a branch before ripping its head off and beginning to devour it. Unfortunately then a woman walking her five dogs flushed the bird and it left its meal behind before resuming its hunting position atop another willow.
I reckoned with my presence also it was unlikely to return to its larder so I too beat a retreat. Meanwhile I walked another trial that ran alongside a small fishing lake, the reeds here in summer have been great for Reed and Great Reed Warblers. At the beginning of the trail I had a single Chiffchaff feeding high in the willows (the first summer migrant) and a brief glimpse of a female Black Redstart.....not bad birds really.This time I had to contend with Reed Bunting and at least four smart looking White Wagtails.
At this stage I decided to head back to the house for some lunch and to pick up my camera. On the return journey to the area I stopped to take some photos of the Tree Sparrows which were wary at first but quickly became quite confident.
|Tree Sparrow, Lielupe River, Latvia, 7th April 2014|
|Clearly eyeing me carefully!|
|Great Grey Shrike (nominate race Excubitor) - Leilupe, Latvia|
|Keeping watch from the willows on a grey and cold morning|
That's more or less all the birding I will get on this short visit. As always Latvian birding never disappoints!