05 November, 2012

Shriking it Lucky

 
Day off work? Report of a Great Grey Shrike on Thursley Common back in the week? Yes please. 
 

In recent years, this heath has become one of the most reliable spots in England for holding wintering Shrikes, although for one reason of another I've never (until now) taken the small trek down the A3 to see one. This season's wintering bird has been reported on and off since late October, and on this occasion, was surprisingly hassle free to find when I headed down yesterday afternoon, flying across the bridleway and perching out in the open near the main boardwalk, a few paces from the car park. Beginner's luck?
 
For the next hour or so, it happily caught and ate a Wren in front of me, perching at close range for long periods of time whilst it digested the meal. Hard to believe these birds are about the size of a small Starling!





It was a remarkably efficient killer, at one point diving down into a bush, and re-emerging with a Wren. An hour later, it dived into a reedbed and came up with a vole...



The light was pretty rubbish, so the photos aren't all that. Will definitely have to return when the sun comes out, and when the wind decides to die down a bit.

2 comments:

Katie (Nature ID) said...

That's a very handsome bird. Where is Thursley Common?

Bill D said...

Hi Katie, apologies for late reply. Thursley Common is a heathland site just north of the A3 at Hindhead. Brilliant for dragonflies in the summer, and heathland bird specialists- Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Hobby...