Monday, 20 May 2013

Lesser Grey Shrike

After working yesterday and nearly drowning under a tsunami of local rare, I'm looking forward to this week and trying to catch back some of what I've missed as well as getting out and about at Newbiggin to see if anything is lingering there.

To be honest I was so fired up last night post-work that I slipped out for a couple of hours but the mist was dropping back in and I failed to find much apart from a couple of Wheatears on land. Off Spital outfall a smart drake Long-tailed Duck was a late surprise and a single Whimbrel flew north.

This morning then ADMc and I headed up to Holy Island, slipping over the causeway ahead of the incoming tide. Opting to search for yesterday's adult Lesser Grey Shrike at Chare Ends, we walked north and after a few minutes found another birder who had just been watching a male Red-backed Shrike. This was re-located a little further down the wall and then a minute or two later ADMc picked up the LGS a field over roaming the fence line.

We continued towards the Straight Lonnen, and fortuitously so did the LGS. We spent the next 30 minutes watching it down to 30m as it ranged along the fence line feeding on caterpillars. It didn't disappoint! The only disappointment was that I'd left the phone in the car so we headed off into the village and then the car.




We gave a reported Wood Warbler a few minutes but couldn't manage more than an acredula looking Willow Warbler. By late morning we drifted off to the Vicar's Garden where the Icterine Warbler had been seen a few hours earlier. Camera-toting individuals at the gate hadn't seen it as we arrived but within five minutes it popped up at the bottom end of the garden and there was just time to shout "Icky" before it flew up and landed in one of the sycamores nearer the house and sat on show for several minutes, long enough to get in the scope and three of us to get a look.  It flew again into the boundary sycamores and was picked up again as we walked back this time with a Garden Warbler.

A second spell with the shrike resulted in some iphonescoping (see above), another male Red-backed Shrike and reports from various observers that when cobbled together suggested at least 10 of the latter could be present across the island! We also added Lesser Whitethroat and Redstart on or near the Straight Lonnen, before heading off around mid-afternoon. 

We didn't scrape the surface today, passed the Snook with no time to stop and the excavations remained a pipe dream.No doubt there is still more to be found on the island and with small wader numbers looking good, the opportunities almost outweigh the time available. I may yet be back before the week is out.

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