Just returned from leading a trip in Lesvos. As usual, Lesvos was stacked full of migrants and specialities. Only my second trip to this island, but interesting to see how different the birding can be. The general feel was that birds were arriving later this year. Bee-Eaters only arrived in large numbers just as we were leaving and I saw only one Red-backed Shrike all week!
Highlights included Eastern Bonelli's Warbler and hearing that all important "chip" call (very loud!), fantastic views of Montagu's Harriers of varying plumages, Baillon's Crake, Collared Flycatcher, a big fall of Spotted Flycatchers and many Icterine Warblers to name but a few.
However, the main highlight was my co-leader, Ian, alerting me to a "grey" shrike that he found whilst looking for orchids. Ian went to round up the group whilst I and another group member went to re-locate the bird and I soon found myself confronted with a Great Grey Shrike! It appears to be only the 2nd confirmed record of a "large grey shrike" in recent years with the only previous bird being a pallidirostris or Steppe Grey Shrike in the autumn of 2008.
Surprisingly, our bird seemed to be of the nominate race excubitor with very little white in the closed wing. The rump did appear to be very pale, though within the range for excubitor. The amount of white in the open tail/wing (from other photos) could perhaps point towards the homeyeri race (from SE Russia), though integrades between the two races are not uncommon. An interesting bird all the same! See excellent plates from Collins Bird Guide below:
Great Grey Shrikepresumed excubitor?