The first Lesser Grey Shrikes have already arrived to Lleida (NE Spain). The first one is an old friend who has completed eight trips between its breeding territory in Lleida and its wintering area, an olympic champion!

Some days ago the first LGS arrived to Lleida. It was rapidly identified thanks to the rings he is carrying since it was ringed in the nest. It was a male born in the wild in 2011 who bred succesfully in 2013 and 2014.

Male T1-1/14 in nest. © M.Galvez/Trenca

It was born in Lleida in June 2011. He did not pair the first time he returned to its natal place, being the only season with no successful breeding pairs in the whole Spain (although there was a couple who tried but failed).

He came back the next year and he paired with a female born also in 2011, in the Lesser Grey Shrike Breeding Center in Vallcalent (Lleida). In this case they reared five chicks being the first time ever that a LGS born in captivity bred into the wild!

In 2014 he came back again and paired with a different bird, a female with no rings (unknown origin) and they reared five chicks, for the second consecutive year!

With the last trip to Lleida this male has completed eight times the distance between Lleida and its wintering grounds in Southern Africa. This fact is a new by its own as this species is a long-distance trans-equatorial migrant, across Eastern Europe and the Middle East (not crossing the Strait of Gibraltar), so it means more than 70.000 km during its short life!

Female T2/14. © J.Guerra/Trenca

And, after him, 10 days after, arrived a new bird, a female released by hacking in 2014… and they began to build the nest just arrived!

But they are not the only LGS to return to Lleida this season: two other females have just “landed”!

On the other hand, the first chicks of the season at Vallcalent Center have already born, in the frame of the Lesser Grey Shrike Breeding Project, an essential basis of the specie’s Conservation Project in Spain.

To learn more about the project, you can visit the section Conservation in situ of the Lesser Gray Shrike (lanius minor) in Spain in this same web page.