Friday, 29 January 2010

Chiselhampton Great Grey Shrike

A great grey shrike had been reported yesterday as having been seen whilst driving along the road to Chiselhampton. However, whilst such a report was interesting, particularly as one had been seen last year in roughly the same area, it wasn't exactly twitchable. However when news came today of the bird still being in the area and with a definite location given I needed no further encouragement (work was going rather slowly anyway) and quickly headed off towards the B4015 looking out for the "Simpsons & Sons" For Sale sign about a mile from Chiselhampton itself. I soon found it and the fact that another car was parked there was encouraging. Roger Wyatt was already there and soon put me on the bird which was showing on and off in the hedge at the back of the field. A succession of birders came and went whilst I was there (including the legendary Lee Evans). Whilst we watched it, it was seen to catch quite a large rodent, impale it on a thorn and then eat it. As usual I had a go at digiscoping it and was lucky to have the bird pose for a decent period in the top of a tree whilst the sun shone on it so that despite the strong scope-shaking wind, the shots weren't too bad.

A couple of shots of the bird. I think that having the telegraph pole behind the bird was probably a bad idea though it has been suggested that it offers a nice contrast for the bird's colours.
..and a closer crop on the second shot.

Great grey shrike is in fact a county tick for me as I've not managed to catch up with it before despite trying last year. A nice bird to see and I hope that it stays around long enough for others to enjoy it also.

Oxon County Year List 2010
086 great grey shrike 29/01/2010 (County Lifer)

National Year List 2010
093 great grey shrike 29/01/2010

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