Following work this morning I decided to make for heathland close to Grimes Graves. Having parked off-road I then walked along forest trails to the Grimes Graves access road. As soon as I reached the boundary of Grimes Graves I saw a very distant white spot on the top of a Hawthorn, it was as I expected a Great Grey Shrike, a regular winter visitor to this site.
|Great Grey Shrike at Grimes Graves 01/02/16 (A typical view)|
First impressions are of a white, grey, and black bird which always perches on the topmost part of a thorny bush. The photograph, despite showing the bird as distant, clearly sees the more salient features. The crown and mantle is pale grey, and the black eye stripe is seen. The wings are black, these contrast with the white underparts. The upper-tail is black with white outer tail feathers.
During my observation of the Shrike, some strong gusty winds saw the bird being buffeted about, but it hung on.
To the layperson, the Shrikes would appear to look like, and behave like raptors, especially when seen close to and that sharp hooked bill is seen, however, the bird is assigned to the passeriformes, or perching birds.
The wind put pay to overflying birds, however, other species seen included a single Stonechat (female) and a hunting male Kestrel.