Did it fall or was it pushed?
Last August as I was searching for that wee bug that you may have read in the Buteman , the “Thistle tortoise larvae” I came across this poor wee bug impaled on the very sharp spines of a thistle. It was in good condition, except it was dead, but it was fresh dead. It is very unusual to find a death of this sort, more so as it was upside down, as they are very good fliers even in poor conditions, so I was perplexed to what had caused it to become impaled here, but could not come to any conclusion, so I carried on with my search leaving it hanging there, but I kept it on my mind for the rest of that day.
A few years ago there was a Great Grey Shrike on Bute, this bird is also known as the butcher bird as it impales its prey, (birds), on the thorny bushes like Hawthorn, Blackthorn and the like, and then tears them apart. A fine looking bird with a nasty way of surviving. I saw it with others in the grounds of Kames Castle, and it had also been seen at the Piperhall Sawmill previously.
There is a smaller shrike that eats smaller birds and Insects, “The Red Backed Shrike”, but as the great grey is rare on Bute, the red backed is even rarer.
Well as I found the wee bug on the Bruchag Road near Wee Kilchatttan Farm, I jumped on the early bus to Kingarth for many days, wandering back and forwards to see if I could see this bird but to no avail, in fact I could not even find the wee bug, although I had place a marker (blue tape) on the thistle, so that if required I could find it. Had it been eaten? If so by what.
So the plot thickens, is there or is there not one of these birds on Bute?
And did it come back to have its meal?
The jury is still out on this case.
First Published in the Buteman 18-06-2010