I'd not been back from Norfolk long when a woodchat shrike turned up in Somerset and I spent several days at work hoping it would remain in situ until the weekend. Still being reported on the Friday, I was up with the birds on Saturday and down before it'd even properly got light. Parking up I clocked Carl's car which was amusing, as he'd been watching the reports too, fingers crossed all week!
Didn't have to wait long to see the bird, as it perched in a tree in front of us, though the sun hadn't come up by then and shots taken were merely for the sake of it, should it fly off suddenly. It didn't.
Mid afternoon and the sun had moved around us, making the light rather harsh. Carl and I opted to call it a day and headed back up north.
With a few hours to spare one weekend, I chose to go looking for adders in the Wyre Forest, but despite checking the usual locations, I failed to see any initially. Rather disappointing, though I did find a shed skin, which has been baggsied by WildlifeKate!
Whilst mooching around the woods, I spooked a bird from an area covered in wood ants. It was a pipit, and seemed keen to return to feed, so I backed off to a safe distance (safe from the ants that is!) and waited.
Sure enough it dropped down and carried on poking about amongst the leaf litter, allowing me to get some reasonable shots as it did.
After some reports of sub-species of yellow wagtails appeared online, I thought I'd spend a day at Clifton Pits, south of Worcester. I've been before, but only for a short visit. Parking up, I spotted a whitethroat in the hedge beside my car, but it vanished before I could get a shot.
Over the pools I could see a hobby hawking insects and I was soon beside the water, scanning for anything of interest. It was at that point I wondered if I'd left my car window open, so strolled back to find it closed, but also to bump into Steve Avery, who had also come for the wagtails.
Initially we only saw clouds of biting insects, which forced me to reach for the Jungle Formula spray - stinks but it works... Feeding off these abundant flies were flocks of sand martins, with swallows thrown in for good measure.
While the martins, hobbies and wagtails were tempting, a familiar call from the trees nearby took my attention away. Cuckoo! Cuckoo! No prizes for guessing the bird, but I was pretty close to where it was calling from. Then I spotted it, as it broke cover, dropping down to grab something from the ground, and back up to a post where it scoffed its catch. A bit far for a shot, though I took some anyway.
Didn't take long for the martins to ignore me, and swoop in to take bits. Getting shots of them on the ground was easy - getting them in flight, now that was a challenge.