Monday, 22 September 2014

Not Spurning The Chance To Go On Shrike! - 21.9.14

2 of the Masked Shrike, Redstart and Whinchat
Saturday morning broke and while sat in bed with a cup of tea I had a check of the pager to find that there was still a good smattering of scarcities along the east coast including a new in juv Woodchat Shrike at Kilnsea but nothing worth shouting about. I then had a check on Twitter to see what was occurring when I came across an interesting tweet from a birder in Shetland saying he had an interesting looking flycatcher that looked good for Brown. After catching up on my tweets I finished my tea and laid down again only to hear my pager start vibrating on the window sill. I turned to Carey to say that the flycatcher had been ID'd as a Brown but I was shocked to read with still bleary eyes that the Kilnsea Woodchat Shrike was in fact a Masked Shrike!! This only depressed me as with paint shopping and bedroom furniture procurement the plan for the day along with my car making worrying noises from the engine I knew I wouldn't be able to go for it. That evening Carey took pity on me and said I could borrow her car and with that Sunday morning arrived and the bird was still there so off I went leaving the house just after 9 arriving eventually no thanks to the M1 roadworks just before 1pm.

Having never been to the Spurn area before I didn't really know where I was going but thanks to the sat-nav I found my way to the Bluebell car park and nabbed the only space before following everyone else to the viewing area and straight away getting onto my first ever MASKED SHRIKE. The small black and white bird was most of the time sat in the hedge motionless before flying out and catching craneflies. Every now and then it would turn around to reveal a small peachy coloured patch on the flank. This 3rd for Britain shared the hedge with 3 Redstart which were my first of the year and a nice Lesser Whitethroat which looked quite brown so maybe one of the eastern races? After having my fill of the Shrike I headed up the church where I added 2 Garden Warbler to the day list and another Lesser Whitethroat. I then wandered round the corner to the famous Crown and Anchor pub where in the hedge opposite a surprisingly showy Barred Warbler performed to the crowds. I then took a footpath to the opposite side of the field by the church and from here I added 4 more year ticks with 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and a brief Red-Breasted Flycatcher in the hedge and out on the estuary I finally spotted a Knot! The last year tick of the day was a dark morph Arctic Skua on a very quick seawatch from the car park. All in all a very good day.

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