The larder of a Red-backed Shrike

The Red-backed Shrike (Grauwe Klauwier[nl], Pie-grièche écorcheur[fr], Neuntöter[de]) is a bird that eats large insects and, like other shrikes, uses thorns and barbed wire to create a “larder.”

While camping in Vic-sur-Cère in the Cantal region of France in the early 1980s, we came across the Red-backed Shrike and its larder of which I took some photos that I just recovered. While browsing the Internet I came across quite a few photos of Red-backed Shrikes itself but not many of the larder.

Larder of a Red-backed Shrike

Lost opportunities, 1985

Looking back at the slides I recovered the other week, I cannot help but feel ambivalent: there is the soft, sweet feeling of lost youth: the pretty girls we met, the hot days on the beach and the long, dark nights. However, the feeling that is now the most prevalent, is the feeling of missed photo opportunities: What possessed me to waste so much film on all those ancient ruins while there were so many interesting characters and scenes about that would now have been a treasure? Instead I came away with a collection of lousy touristy postcards shots….

Time slip to 1985

I just came across a set of slides that I took in 1985 during a trip to the islands of Tinos and Mykonos in the Cyclades with my younger brother. I’ll be posting the proper photos on my blog but I am very amused by some of the snapshots I took on the way back.


As the ferries back to the mainland can be easily delayed by strong winds, we made our way back to Piraeus early from which we immediately departed to Marathon Beach which we used as base for trips to Athens and a swim in sea in the mornings and evenings. Quite a few other people must have had the same idea as we met up with several of the girl backpackers we had met on the islands.

The photo on the left is our pitch on the Marathon Beach camping which we shared with all the other backpackers. None of us did bother pitching tents although the mosquitos feasted on us. Love the Walkman and the compact cassette tapes in the photo. I remember going to local restaurants with a few of the girls and when we couldn’t decide on the order, we would go to the kitchen and select our food from the dishes cooking on the hob.

The photo on the right was taken on Athens airport, I remember our plane leaving around 4 or 5AM so we had gone there the evening before. The girls are posing for the camera that I had put on top of a bin, my brother is half-asleep and I cannot keep my eyes off the girls we had spent the last week with. After arriving on a very cold Schiphol airport hours later, we never saw them again Smile