Saturday, 23 February 2013

Great Grey Shrike

I had to work this morning so it wasn't until mid afternoon that I made it to the Great Grey Shrike at Wrentham. There had been no sign of the bird for half an hour when I arrived. It had last been seen flying into a Christmas tree plantation so I wandered down the road to try and view the plantation from the other side but was thwarted by a thick high hedge which gave limited viewing. Walking back I was surprised to see a Woodcock fly close by over the road, flushed from an adjacent field by agricultural activities.
With the shrike seemingly disappeared and several birders reporting seeing Hawfinch today at nearby Sotterley I drove the few miles to Sotterley to try my luck. I reasoned that as it was only 10 minutes away I could quickly head back if the shrike reappeared. I didn't realise how quick my return would be. Parking at Sotterley I checked my pager to only to find the shrike reported again so without even getting out of the car I about turned and headed back ( a little faster than my outward journey I have to admit) to Wrentham.
The shrike had dived back into the plantation but within seconds its distinctive shape erupted skywards and into the top of a tall tree. It posed beautifully if a little distantly for several minutes despite the onset of a snowstorm before dropping down into cover again.
My return to Sotterley was less fruitful with no sign of the Hawfinch although it was rather late in the day. At least the Nuthatches were performing well as usual.
The patch has been quiet the past week with no new birds and fewer common ones. The weather has been bitterly cold and dull, and spring is feeling a long way off again. Last year the rooks started nest building on 16th February but their morning visits have been brief the last few days and I assume they've returned to Buckenham to roost as there's been no sound of them in the evening. Something has to happen soon.

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