24 Jan 2015

24 Jan 15 - A Patch Rare

Having had a relatively quiet day on the Studland/Ballard Patch, I was ready to head for home mid afternoon, when I had a call from one of the locals, Steve Morrison. He had just seen the breaking news of a Great Grey Shrike on Godlingston Heath. This is the South West corner of the patch, but is the most underwatched part of my patch, after the nudist beach area. The details were vague, just a text from a friend of a friend saying there was a Great Grey Shrike seen whilst walking somewhere on Godlingston Heath. There was no opportunity to check where it was, so Steve and I met up & started scanning from the high hide part of Studland. It is easily 1/2 mile to the nearest part of the heath & well over a mile to the Southern end. Looking into the light didn't help. After 20 minutes, I suggested Plan B, to look from the top of the heath. There is a good, but more restricted view. No joy in the first 15 minutes of scanning & I was about to suggest moving to a different viewpoint, to check the rest of the heath, when Steve said he had found it. It was about 200 metres away from us, sitting on the heath. Not great shots, but better than nothing. We were lucky it was so close, given how large Godlingston Heath is.
Godlingston Heath: Viewed from Greenlands Farm. Godlingston Heath is the heathland area which continues for about 3/4 mile until the heath gives way to the higher pastural fields. This is only the Western side of Godlingston Heath, the Eastern side is even larger
Great Grey Shrike: Only my second individual on the patch, having twitched the only other record in the last 25 years on 24 Mar 11
Great Grey Shrike: Another record shot
Great Grey Shrike: The uncropped original from the SX60
There are only 14 records involving 11 individuals between 1952 and 1989 on the Studland patch. Since that date, there has only been one more record: an individual seen on 24 & 28 Mar 11 on Godlingston Heath. So despite being more or less annual within Poole Harbour, it has become a very rare Bird on the Studland patch. Most Poole Harbour records have been around the Hartland Moor/Arne part of the harbour.