Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What can I say....

Sitting in the office, at work this morning, complaining about the dismal service provided by our IT section, gazing out of the window at a grey rainy day when the phone rings.

I glance down and see who its from. Gary Woodburn. Now this provokes some interest from my sapping miserable person, as when Gary calls it usually means he's seen something interesting. Wondering what it could be, I answer and Gary asks where I am. I tell him then comes the punchline. 'I've just found a Lesser Grey Shrike at the Long Nanny' he says.

To go from being morose to being kicked up the rear into action took about ten seconds of silence. I couldn't speak. Gary even asked if I was still there! Oh yes, I was still here but my mind was racing. This was a British lifer for me and was only 7 miles from my house but I was 25 miles away at work. Nothing for it, get a half day flexi booked in and off I went...

Straight home in torrential rain, get changed from the shiny shoes and tie into waterproofs, let Bunty into the garden and back out up to the 'Nanny where a few of the lads had the target staked out.



Above - Shrike site. Click on it and the bird can be seen as a white dot five fence posts from the right...



Above - Does anyone work!



Above - Imagine walking through the dunes and lifting your bins to this...



Above - Reed Bunting doesn't like it...



Above - Its off...


The bird was very bedraggled at first but soon perked up when there was a short easing up of the rain and even began to sing quietly to itself. We watched him ( at first I thought it was a female due to the broken grey black forehead until the singing started, I now think it was probably a fs male) down to 30 yards in the open for over an hour before the rain got the better of us.

All the features required could be seen easily. Grey mantle, nape and crown, black mask and forehead, white throat contrasting strongly with the blush pink underparts. It was very long winged with a huge white flash at the primary bases.







What a bird. My second lifer in under a week ( I've seen several in Turkey, Hungary and Slovakia but they're just holiday birds, they dont count!).

British List 388
Northumberland List 318

11 comments:

Mattzappa said...

God, you's are truelly obsessed, great pics.

dean said...

The unsettled weather strikes again. Stewart, bet you`d like to make it 3 brit ticks in a row.

Seaside Observers said...

Your dead lucky being able to shoot off and see such an awesome bird...you must be over the moon with another lifer...nice pics

Kingsdowner said...

Quite a week!

DorsetDipper said...

As an IT professional I take great pride in providing a dismal service.

abbey meadows said...

I hadn't realised that the shrike was a british tick. I don't know when Northumberland had it's last one but this one was long overdue. If only it would linger for another day or two. The thread veined watercrowfoot is called Ranunculus trichophyllus in case you know it by another name.

Boulmer Birder said...

Thanks for the comments all, its been a great week so far...shades of '99...

Border Reiver said...

Hi BB what is going on up there? Northumberland always was a good place but seems to be becoming a mega-county. Great stuff, great birding, and great you got your second lifer in a week... I blame global warming ! Top stuff. BR

Rare Visitor said...

Yes some of us do work ( crying over desk).

Goosey said...

Amazing stuff, good pictures tto, Goosey

oldcrow61 said...

I'm starting to believe that you birders are quite mad, lol.