Monday, 15 September 2014

Red-backed Shrike

It has been a strange couple of weeks. The migrants are flowing through but with the weather being so good they are not stopping at the coast. Reliable places, like Church Norton, have been very slow and when there have been birds around I also seem to have been very slow. I have missed two or three Wrynecks as well as some of the other birds I had been chasing and those that I have seen have been too far away for a decent picture.

One of the birds I failed on was the Red-backed Shrike at Sandy Point, so today I was back there having another go. For once I was not worried about pictures. In September last year we had a really showy bird at Rottingdean and it was unlikely that I would improve on those shots. However, it is an unusual bird to see and I did not want to let it go without having another try.

This time the bird was easy to find, although it stayed distant all the time I was watching it. It was also quiet mobile so I was fortunate in having help to keep track of it from Simon Colenutt. Have a look at his blog, the Deskbound Birder for some more great shots.

Having lost the Wryneck I had been chasing at Shooters Bottom to a Sparrowhawk I thought I was in for a repeat performance when one flew flew through  the nature reserve, but the Shrike stayed in cover. It is a first year juvenile and I would imagine that it will stay a while. It was finding plenty of food and with the weather being warm there is no real pressure on it to move on.

Red-backed Shrike

Red-backed Shrike

Today was really about plugging some more of the gaps in my year list. Pagham North Wall gave me a Water Rail, always a great bird to see.

Water Rail

I also realised that I had not seen a Sandwich Tern all year so I paid a quick visit to Selsey Bill. Fortunately there were no other birders around to see my one man twitch of the Sandwich Tern sitting on the post. Worse still the pictures were hopeless so I have not posted any of them here.

I felt a bit happier coming home today. I had seen a couple of year ticks and I had some pictures for the blog. Life feels good.

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