21 Sep 2014

21 Sep 14 - Up Narff

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a lot of early starts & plenty of local birding. Despite a lot of looking, it just hasn't been as good as hoped locally, although the Great White Egret around the Middlebere & Studland patches have been a definite bonus. While it's been good for commoner migrants & Waders, the hoped for Wryneck or Passerine goodie just hasn't appeared. Of course to increase the chances of finding or seeing something better, I could have had a day or two at Portland. Or to increase the chances more, a trip to the East coast, which seems to be dripping in Wrynecks, Red-breasted Flycatchers and other goodies, could have been planned. But being loyal to the local area, I've kept Birding mainly around Poole Harbour. At the end of the day, I keep telling myself finding a Wryneck on the patch is more exciting that one on the East coast.
Wryneck: One of the problems with Studland is there is just so much cover for a Wryneck to hide in. Beit Yatir, Israel (8 Apr 14)
Finally yesterday, I had decided to give myself a decent lie-in, after a quick look at the weather at dawn, showed it was still conditions & misty again. Next thing I knew it was nearly 09:30 & the lie-in had been achieved. But soon after the pager mega alerted: Masked Shrike at Spurn. By the time, I had finished breakfast & could have reacted, a calculation of what time I could get there after the 6 hour, 310 mile trip), had me arriving about 16:30, assuming no traffic holdups etc. So getting a bit tight. I should have gone anyway at this point, but a bit of untypical dithering (when a British Tick was involved) & it was looking very tight. Later in the day, I was frustrated, I hadn't got going sooner, as this was only a third for Britain & I hadn't see either of the previous two. It was also the first mainland Tick for me this year, as all the potential Ticks had been on Fair Isle (Swinhoe's Petrel, Hermit Thrush & Cretzschmar's Bunting), Crag Martin (whilst I was in Israel) or a scattering of flyby Fea's Petrels. The following morning, I was up early, in case it had stayed, but with clear overnight skies on the East coast, I expected I would be heading early to Studland. But a quick check of twitter & it was still there. Urgent phone calls with my mate, Peter Moore, to confirm he could abandon his parental football duties. He could & better still, he had it confirmed that he would still be married on his return, despite missing the football. So by 07:30 we were heading North. A good run & arrived in early afternoon. Even better as we pulled into the car park, we met my mates, Edge & Gav from the Croatia trip, who were just leaving. They had taken the really courageous approach of driving Southampton to have breakfast in a Nottingham motorway services. So we quickly jumped into their car & were chauffeured back to the Masked Shrike field. It only saved a 1/4 mile walk back up the road, but it was really a great help. We arrived to find the Masked Shrike sitting in the hedge, only 40 metres from the crowd. By the time, we would have got there on foot, it would have been further back in the field. On subsequent visits to the field, it remained, stubbornly much further away, so that lift really helped.
Masked Shrike: 1st Winter. UK & Ireland Tick 516 (following BOU/IRB rules) & no Mickey Mouse Club species to pad out the list. My full list can be found on Bubo
Masked Shrike: 1st Winter
Masked Shrike: 1st Winter
Masked Shrike: 1st Winter
Masked Shrike: 1st Winter
Masked Shrike Hedge: It was generally in the far end of the hedge, but the above photos were taken when it was about 40 metres away
The first record was a well twitched individual at Kilrenny, Fife which was around from 29 Oct - 14 Nov 2004. This was followed by a single day bird on the 1 Nov 2006 on Scillies. The latest individual is still present for it's third day on the 22 Sep 14. I think that Masked Shrike is the best looking of the Western Palearctic Shrikes and here are some photos of adults taken in Israel this Spring.
Masked Shrike: Adult. Yotvata 11 April 14
Masked Shrike: Adult. Yotvata 11 April 14

3 comments :

  1. Congrats pal. County tick for me and a bit closer!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Alan
      Guess that makes us even after the ST Eagle which was a county tick in the Spring & a long twitch for you!!
      Steve

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  2. 'Confirmed that he would still be married on his return?' Yeah, only 'cos divorce courts are closed on Sundays.

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