Sunday, 26 May 2013

Shrike saves the day!

An European Roller has been at Broxhead Common Hampshire for a couple of days. I didn’t really expect it to still be there today but it had been seen and news had been posted. So off I trotted to the site which took about 40mins. I saw Garry Messenbird who stated the bird had last been seen flying off over the tree line about an hour earlier. This was not good news! But in my mind I was thinking its my own fault for not getting here earlier!

After a 30min wait news filtered through that a Roller had been seen briefly at Thursley Common before flying off NE. The finder was Andy Pickett a former Beddington Farm keyholder. There was no point staying at Broxhead so I said my goodbye’s and headed to Thursley. Again I did not expect to connect with the bird but at this time of year there are a few birds on the common that are regulars and nice to see.
On walking along the main boardwalk at Thursley a pair of Stonechat moved in to check me out. This was followed by a Kestrel and then a pair of Curlew that appeared to have been disturbed by the presence of the Kestrel!
I continued on down the boardwalk and noted three Hobby overhead before bumping into Andy Picket and his other half. A conversation later and a walk towards Shrike Hill and we parted company. I went looking for Common Redstart and Andy wanted to see the Curlew.
(Tree Pipit)
A Tree Pipit was the next bird to appear perching nicely in a tree enabling me to get some good pictures of it. I always think this bird is the smarter dinner suit version of the Meadow Pipit! I fired off some shots and then moved on to view a pair of Redstarts close-by. I took some shots but the best shots were obtained whilst walking back to the car via the small lake. A Male bird was hawking insects along the waters edge and seemed oblivious to my presence.
(Common Redstart)
News had broken of a Red backed Shrike at Pewley Down, Guildford and as this was on my way home I decided to drop in and see the bird. I was surprised how easy it was to find ok the small group of birders including Andy Pickett helped but this female was showing on the hedge-line down to a few metres! This is the third Surrey Red backed Shrike I have seen but this bird was the most obliging of the three.

(Red backed Shrike)
A day of mixed fortunes but the Shrike made up for the disappointment of missing the Roller. Note to self get up early and don’t wait for news!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, the Red-backed Shrike was in my local patch. The fields immediately behind the hedge have been listed as a Potential Development Area by Guildford Borough Council. If you get a moment please have a look at:
    Many thanks and good birding! Jonathan Mitchell