Saturday, 16 October 2010

Second Species of Butcher Bird Over the Obs

It was a bit it nippy when Craig, Gary, Ian and I met at Rossall at 6.30 a.m. to do some ringing. It was clear with a 5-10 mph northeasterly wind. We knew that any weekend birders turning up for the Red-backed Shrike would be disappointed as it was the first clear night last night since Ian found the bird on Wednesday (13th) and undoubtedly it would have 'cleared out' and it had. No updates on Redwing calls last night as I was in Manchester watching the greatest guitar player in the world, Joe Bonamassa. Look him up and prepare to be amazed!

The highlight of the morning was without doubt when at 8.00 a.m. Ian shouted "Great Grey Shrike" and there above us, slightly to the west was a Great Grey Shrike with its 'bouncing' flight heading north. Awesome! In fact I think when I looked at it I was heard to exclaim "Gret Grey f*cking Shrike"! We watched it head north over the houses until it disappeared from view. Stunning!

Below are slome shots of Northern Shrike in the hand taken by my good friend Nigel in Canada. Not exactly the same as our Great Grey Shrike, but in teh absence of a Great Grey picture it will do.

Even though we had had such a mega (relatively speaking of course) the vis was actually fairly quiet. I had my first Fieldfare of the Autumn and numbers of Redwings and Song Thrushes were in single figures. In fact everything that moved over was in single figures including Meadow Pipit, Siskin, Alba Wagtail, Skylark, Rock Pipit (expectedly in single figures) and Goldfinch. The only birds moving in numbers were the 200 Jackdaws that headed south.

Arrivals of wildowl were represented by 4 Whooper Swans and 92 Pink-footed Geese heading fairly high to the south. Raptors included Kestrel and Sparrowhawk, and that was it for birding. But who needed anything else after the Great Grey Shrike.

From a ringing perspective we processed 52 new birds as follows, with numbers of retraps in brackets:

Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 1
Goldcrest - 3
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (1)
Reed bunting - 6
Blue Tit - 3 (2)
Dunnock - 1 (1)
Blackbird - 5
Greenfinch - 31
Robin - (2)

The ringing team back 'to it' after the distraction of the Great Grey Shrike


And why a Redwing is called a Redwing


Reed Bunting


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Never mind the shrikes what about the strummin - WOW
Thanks for puttin us on to JB, a Robin Trower/Alvin Lee/Gary Moore combo and some!


The Hairy Birder said...

He is a cracking guitar player. I would say that he is the best in his field in the world at the moment. Check out the following albums:

- The Ballad of John henry
- Live from nowhere in particular
- Sloe Gin
- Black Rock
- You & Me
- A New Day Yesterday

All are superb!