Monday, 24 October 2011

Patch update, and the only way to start half-term.

With a (nearly) blank week stretching ahead of me I began by taking in Surlingham Church Marsh this morning. A Wigeon was new in on the lagoon, and both Little Grebe and Cormorant on the river heralded the arrival ofWinter. 2 Great Crested Grebe were probably a breeding pair, and a Sparrowhawk overhead was probably local too. Large numbers of Starlings moving overhead, a flock of 5 Pied Wagtail, 6 Stock Doves and finally 40 Lapwing at Wood's End. Fieldfare and Redwing heard, but not yet pinned down this winter period. Bullfinch and Siskin also vocal from the scrub.
Returning home after the weekly shop, news had broken of an Isabelline Shrike at Horsey. Shrikes are a real favourite of mine, and I couldn't miss this! I read up on the Izzy Shrike complex whilst having lunch, and felt prepared to ID whatever was there.
Once I had enjoyed good views, I set about pinning the bird down to subspecies level. One or two on site thought it to be a Turkestan (Red-tailed) Shrike, but I could see no features indicating this. Infact, the bird was pale, lacked a prominent mask and supercillium, and the creamy wash breast with faint barring suggested an obvious Daurian Shrike.
It was a cracker, and showed well for the birders present. I missed it catching a Wren (short distance migrant?) but did watch it feed on the impaled carcass; butcher bird indeed!


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