Saturday, 17 January 2015

Dartford Warblers (again)

The post should have been titled Great Grey Shrike but things rarely go to plan. I had managed to get a couple of hours birding on a Saturday. An unusual occurrence, brought about by the wife having to attending a course and leaving me with the afternoon free. The plan was to head up to Iping Common to see the Shrike and I did eventually get to see it but not before being waylaid by an obliging Dartford Warbler.

I had been searching for the shrike for about an hour without any luck and without really seeing any birds at all. I stopped to consider what to do next but then saw a dark flash as a small bird disappeared into the gorse bush in front of me. That's usually all you see but this time the bird popped out on top of the bush and sat looking at me.

And it stayed to have its picture taken..... a good few times

I like the little white flash over the left eye. It will be interesting to see if I can spot it again later in the year.

Refreshed by having found a decent bird I set off in search of the Shrike again. There was no sign of it in its usual dead Birch Tree but I eventually found it flying three or for hundred metres to the south west of the car park. This is not a bird that is easy to approach, so I settle for a couple of distant record shots and left it in peace.

Poor framing but it was the only flight shot with the whole of the bird in picture

The light was going but I thought it was worth taking a small detour to see if the Little Owl was visible in its usual tree at Stapleash Farm. For anyone who does not know the location of the usual tree, see my blog of  January 2013, but be aware that one of the trees in the picture has now blown down.

This is a bird that really does not like to co-operate. At the first sign of anyone watching it runs along the branch into cover. This time I did not even get to see that, as it was already well concealed when I arrived.

An enjoyable afternoons birding with a few additions to the year list which is ticking along nicely.

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