Thursday, 16 January 2014

Great Grey Shrike

I managed to get out late afternoon and with nothing visible on the sea I decided on a quick trip up to Waltham Brooks to have another look for the Great Grey Shrike. As I got out of the car I was greeted by Dorian Mason saying that he had the bird in his scope and did I want to have a look. Birding does not get much easier than this. Distant but clear views and just close enough for a record shot.

Great Grey Shrike - still a bit distant

I did have a few pangs of guilt when I realised that some people had been standing around for four or five hours waiting to see the bird but I tried not to let it worry me too much. Things got even better when a Marsh Harrier flew through putting all the ducks up from the flooded fields.

Two good sightings in less than ten minutes, I should probably have gone home then. The trouble is you always hope for better and even with rain and clouds moving over I still thought there might be a picture to be had.

Coming Closer

The bird did come closer but with shutter speeds down to 1/40 sec and with the branches being blown in a strong wind it was pure luck on getting a shot that was not blurred. These are the best two out of about forty attempts.

But not close enough

I photographed another shrike in the same location back on the 15th November but on that occasion I had it all to myself and was able to get good close up pictures without disturbing the bird. The picture below is from my 15th November blog. It was taken in early morning light which gives it the softer colours but it does look like a younger and fresher bird. The bill and mask markings are different and I doubt that it would have aged so much in just two months.

All I needed then was a Barn Owl to finish off the afternoon but it didn't happen. I will just have to go back and try again another day.

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