"Happier of happy though I be, like them I cannot take possession of the sky, mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there, one of a mighty multitude whose way and motion is a harmony and dance magnificent." William Wordsworth
In 2012, I saw my first adult male Red-backed Shrike in Hayes, Greater London. This lovely, colourful, charismatic juvenile was my second encounter with the species. Sadly, they no longer breed reliably in the UK (there have been just sporadic records from Scotland and Wales). The last RSPB record of successful breeding was at a secret location in Dartmoor in 2011. The birds tried again in 2012 but didn't fledge any young. This juvenile has likely come from Scandinavia and, due to easterly winds, is taking the scenic route to wintering grounds in tropical Africa. It really was the most delightful little fella, very confiding and feeding on all sorts of insects (and the occasional berry!). Over the 2 days I observed the bird in both rain and sunshine, it caught Crane flies, grasshoppers, an earwig(!), a bee and spiders....tasty! This is the first of two series of images.