19 December, 2012

Back With the Shrike

With some free time back on Sunday for a bit of casual birding, and no particular desire to twitch a slightly weird looking Rock Pipit at some outer-London reservoir that everyone seems to be going mad about, I headed out on a crisp, quiet morning down the A3 for a day's worth of birding in the south of Surrey, the plan being to briefly stop off at Bookham Common first thing for Hawfinch, before spending some time with the long staying adult Great Grey Shrike at Thursley Common.
As expected, the first part of the plan didn't come together, and there were no Hawfinches to be found in their 'usual' spot behind Bookham train station. Luckily, the Shrike was more reliable, showing well; though distant, as it actively hunted throughout the aptly named 'Shrike Hill', perching only briefly to survey the area, before moving on again...

Highlight of the day came in the form of a pair of Dartford Warbler, both of which popped up from nowhere whilst photographing a bunch of Stonechats below Shrike Hill. This species was hit hard by a devastating fire on the Common a few years back, but 2012 has seen the return of a small, localised group of birds. Fingers crossed they make it through the winter.


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