Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Water Rail at Thompson Water, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Friday, 11 November 2016

Great Grey Shrike

Following near freezing temperatures at dawn today, mid afternoon was quite balmy in the November sunshine.
A very good friend of mine, Leigh Gallant texted me to say he was watching a Great Grey Shrike, this bird has been present on private land since being found by another birding friend, Mick Saunt, some three weeks or so ago.
I made my way to the given location where I met another good birding friend, Peter Dolton, we walked to the site where we met Leigh and enjoyed some birding in very bright and quite warm conditions.
A distant Great Grey Shrike on private land 11th November 2016

We had privileged views of a pair of Stonechats until after a longish wait, the Great Grey Shrike came into view, typically perched on elevated branches from where it surveyed its surroundings.  Although always distant the Shrike showed its typical features which were conspicuous at range.  A very smart black, white, and grey bird which flew between exposed perches. The grey crown and mantle was separated from the black wings by a white bar. The black mask through the eyes was distinctive and the throat, breast, and underparts were pure white, this feature was especially noticeable when the bird turned to face the light source.
Stonechat (female) 11th November
 
Stonechat (female) 11th November
We were constantly entertained by a lovely pair of Stonechats throughout this visit, also Redwing, and a roving flock of Long-tailed Tits passed through.
In addition to the wonderful birdlife, a number of Common Darter Dragonflies were seen, also, a Tortoiseshell butterfly was seen.
Peter pointed out a lovely Red Fox in long grass.
Finally, I want to wish Leigh a happy fortieth birthday for today.

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