Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Great Grey Shrike (Napton)

I've not been out much recently with a lot on my mind given recent events at home, but I decided to force myself to go do some focused birding with a great grey shrike, seen over in Warwickshire at a place called Napton On The Hill, not a million miles from Draycote. The last one I'd seen, stayed so far off I could barely call the photos "record" shots!

Anyway, I parked up at a muddy area near some units by a bridge over the Oxford Canal, and wandered along the towpath, scanning the wires and bushes for the bird. Bingo - spotted it almost immediately, but it was in an old brick quarry, which meant walking all the way down the canal, up on to the road and then back along a track into the right area.

Was worth it though. My word, what a treat we had. I say "we" as there were several local birders / togs there, and we were chuffed to see the shrike perching on the wires overhead, and occasionally bushes, showing the great contrasting colours on it.

Then it did the unimaginable. It swooped down and landed on some posts, only a few yards away from us. Amazing views, especially as we weren't hiding!

It got better too, as it dropped down from the posts, catching grubs, and then flying back up and landing on posts getting closer to us each time.

Eventually, it was just on the other side of the track we were stood by, and I was struggling to get the bird in the shot, made more tricky with its habit of changing pose.

Still, beggars and all that... no-one was complaining. It flew off pretty quickly, but repeated the same trick, albeit not quite as close later on in the day.

With the wind picking up and droplets of rain in the air, the bird seemed to become less confiding, favouring the wires and more distant perches, and by mid-afternoon my stomach was rumbling and I didn't think I'd better the shots I'd already managed.

Definitely worth the effort and was good to remind myself that a bit of effort can yield results and better still, put a smile on my face, something that has been missing lately.


Kevin Groocock said...

Excellent images, Pete and a super morning. I think we were lucky!

Max Silverman said...

Cracking shots Pete and I could have been there if I'd gone to the right place.
Today it remained distant on the wires so my pics are poor.A lot of togs there waited for ages by the posts hoping to get a shot like yours and weren't interested in any distant shots.

mad old birder said...

Brilliant shots, wish mine were as good!!

by Carl said...

Cracking shot's Pete, well worth the effort you put in mate. After seeing your shot's I popped up myself to see if I could get something near to what you got but the Shrike remaind distant for the time I was there, then the rain descended at that was the end of that. Hopefully it will hang around for a little while longer so we all get another go at it, well done.

Dave Hutton said...

Fantastic mate!!

faj9778 said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Springman said...

Wonderful shots!
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