Monday, 5 January 2015

RED-CRESTED POCHARD flock up to 11 on Tringford and GREAT GREY SHRIKE still at Slapton

A light frost followed by a few fog patches, then a pleasant winter's day, with temperatures of around 6 degrees C and mostly blue skies
First thing, all 5 BULLFINCHES were feasting on white sunflower hearts in the CHAFFINCH HOUSE garden
After staking out a few other 'target birds' and improving on previous photographs, I then concentrated my efforts in relocating Mike Campbell's GREAT GREY SHRIKE at GROVE. Parking by the church and lock, I ventured south along the west side of the Grand Union Canal to the farmland 400 yards south of where the pylons cross the area - the area where MC had seen the shrike on two occasions. But nothing - no sign of it - just 150 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing, 33 Linnet and a Sparrowhawk. I wandered further south towards Slapton, checking both sides of the canal, but still no joy - a needle in a haystack. Then bingo - a joyous Peter was walking back along the towpath - he had espied the shrike just 10 minutes previous just NW of Slapton - result! After 10 more minutes walking, I arrived at canal bridge 118 and there, across the field to the east of the canal, was the GREAT GREY - sat in good view on the telegraph wires. It remained on view for a few minutes before darting down into the hedgerow, presumably to roost - at approximately SP 927 212 - well into BUCKINGHAMSHIRE by about half a mile. Having been present for over a month, this bird is particularly wide-ranging, the map below giving some guidance as to where it has been seen during that time.

A PEREGRINE was roosting on a pylon as I walked back north to the car.


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