Sunday, 28 April 2013

Woodchat Shrike

This species has always eluded me. I have seen several abroad, but as yet, none in Britain, but with one showing not too far away, I decided to see if I could change that.

On arrival at the site the bird was not showing, no surprise there, but I set up my 'scope and waited. I was reliably informed by the other birders present that it would show soon and they even predicted the area it would appear. On cue the bird showed, right where it was supposed to, but it was a blooming long way away, as is shown by the shot below.


This was taken with my camera at full 140x zoom, so not the greatest shot you are ever likely to see. The red head can be seen though, with other plumage details and it looked great through a 'scope, honestly!

We waited to see if the bird would come any closer, not overly hopeful, but we kept our fingers crossed. The bird disappeared. After about 20 minutes it was seen flying in our direction, where it perched, still distant, but excellent views were had.

The shots below were taken with the camera at 35x zoom and are heavily cropped, so are really only record shots, but hopefully the bird can be seen in greater detail.



Woodchat Shrikes are migratory birds, spending their winters in tropical Africa and their summers in southern Europe or northern west Africa, but a few do turn up in the U.K. most years. Up until now, I have missed those birds, this one changed that.

26 comments:

  1. Well done John, a very nice 'Tick' in the book.

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    1. Thanks Roy, there are a few more ticks now, I wonder how many I will get this year?!
      J

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  2. What a cracking bird John. I'd love to see one of these.

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    1. It was indeed Keith! As I said, I have not seen one before in the U.K., so it was pretty special!
      J

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  3. There's nothing quite like seeing it on home turf is there? I would have been v excited too!

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    1. Hi Peter,
      Thanks for the visit and the comment. It wasn't really on home turf, but wasn't too far away, about 40 miles, but worth the journey.
      J

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  4. Great shots, you found one, I never seen one.

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    1. Thanks Bob, neither had I, until now! :)
      J

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Andrew, I don't need my eyes re-testing after all! :)
      J

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  6. Great stuff John, always nice to see something new.

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    1. Thanks John, it is indeed, although some may think it odd, to travel somewhere just to see a bird!
      J

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  7. Great sighting and a cool bird!

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    1. Thanks Eileen, an extremely cool bird! The Shrike family are all pretty special and in this country, all pretty rare!
      J

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  8. Well done John! What a great bird to see. I doubt I ever will. You certainly do get some interesting birds going through your area.

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    1. Thanks Jan,
      Never say never. It wasn't really in my area, just not too far away. I am lucky in living fairly close to Norfolk, site of some amazing birds and amazing birders who find them!
      J

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  9. Nice one John. I'm glad it eventually came a bit closer to you. (-:

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    1. Thanks Jenny, yes, a shame that it didn't come even closer! ;)
      J

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  10. Fantastic sighting John :-) Woodchat Shrike is a bird I've always wanted to see but have yet to do so.

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    1. Thanks David! The same with me, although I have now managed to do so, maybe you will too!?
      J

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  11. Nice one to add to your UK list John.

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    1. Thanks Frank! Not a big list, but growing a bit! Still some pretty common birds to add to it!
      J

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  12. Saw one of these near bamburgh last sunday

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    1. Hi Jim,
      Very nice, lucky you! Bamburgh is such a nice part of the world too.
      J

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