Friday 1 January 2010

Brown shrike back at Staines Moor

At the start of the listing year the brown shrike is back after an absence of two weeks. As it's fairly local, I decided to go straight up and see it for this year. There were surprisingly few people there, only six or eight. With directions from them, I quickly got on to it, in exactly the same area as when it went AWOL before Christmas.

I watched it for a while and took a few record shots. There were quite a few dog walkers going over the river so I went over and set up my tripod over a small clump of rushes where there was a bush about 20m away. The shrike is a creature of habit and usually does the rounds of its favourite bushes. I sat down to wait.

I watched it on the far side of the river where it gave good views to those on that side. Had I made a mistake? Perhaps I had made the mistake of sitting on the grass. Very quickly I had a very wet behind, the ice cold water seeping through all thicknesses. I shifted sideways so I could sit on the tuft itself. Eventually the shrike came over the river again quite a way away. It flew off behind a bush. Suddenly it appeared low down left of 'my' bush but it was obscured by a twig. Then, yes, it moved to the right hand side, half-way up. I managed about ten shots before he was off and I was happy.

This is a very entertaining bird. If you go, you're almost bound to see it. A nice start to the year.


  1. Its good to have "our" Shrike back! Great photo again Phil!
    Talons crossed - I am going to get my photographer friend to come to see the bird - if its still there of course on Monday - hoping its a sunny day!


  2. Well the birders on Saturday finally saw him off!

    Those dogs and birders have much to answer for!

    Still no doubt he will turn up somewhere else soon.


  3. Hi, Corinna,

    Yes, I thought I'd better go up asap when it returned. Glad I did. Thank you for your kind comments. I was pleased with this picture. Slightly better than last time.

    Regards, Phil.

  4. Nice photo. I keep meaning to go there but Ive been put off a bit by the fact its out of photo range. May give it a try now though....

  5. Hi Phil - emails are bouncing back - is it full?

    2213 photo is paler - but I am consulting on it at mo- rest look like Lesser's!

    are you on Bird forum - if so I am Dryocopus
    and we can exchange mob nos! should have thought of that at Barnes!
    a site for you


  6. Hi Phil, great blog.
    I've just started birdwatching again after a 25 year hiatus, and decided to keep a blog. I would really appreciate a link on your blog. I've got your blog listed already.


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