29 October, 2013

A Plug for a Shrike

Even though I'm sat 120 miles away, I couldn't help but punch the air at the familiar report of a Great Grey Shrike at Thursley Common last week. Presumably the same individual has made the Common its favoured wintering grounds for a number of years now, and despite the bird's tendency to become lost amongst the miles of heathland for hours on end, I managed a number of memorable encounters with the Shrike last winter.



That first distant glimpse of a pale blob perched atop a tree a mile away is enough to brighten up even the bleakest of winter mornings...


Once tracked down and given a sensible approach, the Shrike will often show beautifully. Take your eye off it for even a moment though, and your next view of it will most likely be a flash of wing bars on the other side of the heath. It doesn't hang around.




With a supporting cast of Woodlark, Dartford Warbler, Raven and Hen Harrier, Thursley offers some of Surrey's juiciest winter birding opportunities. Well worth the trip down the A3 if you ever find yourself with nothing to do on a Sunday morning.

2 comments:

Keith Kerr said...

I wondered if it was the same individual, presume it's highly possible/probable. You're right though, VERY elusive! It took me 3 trips before spotting that big 'marshmallow' on the end of a branch - well worth it though. I must get back there again soon...

Bill said...

I remember my first encounter vividly. Never before has a white speck atop a line of conifer trees given me such a good feeling inside.

Bill