Sunday, 20 February 2011

Great Grey Shirke - Local Mega!!!

I was undecided tonight whether to try for the gull roost at Wheldrake or to go over to North Duffield Carrs again - the latter is much more time efficient due to its closeness to home and as the visibility was still not great I decided to pop across to North Duffield at about 4.15. I was surprised to find 3/4 cars in the car park and on walking into the Geoff Smith hide it was almost full! As I was unpacking my bins and scope I noticed a couple of birders in the corner, (one of whom was in the hide yesterday) the other guy next to him said "Have you seen the Great Grey Shrike?" I sort of looked a bit confused - probably the Magpie that is regularly in those trees I thought, though the guy who was there yesterday clearly knew his stuff, which got me thinking maybe there was one...

I quickly grabbed my bins and was straight on it, and it was one! A fantastic Great Grey Shrike sat in a lone bush 50 metres away. I got my scope up and got some great views. I know a few of the local guys keep year lists, North Duffield, LDV and York area lists so I immediately rang Russell Slack to set the local grapevine going. Within 1o minutes several of the locals were down adding it to their respective lists. The bird showed well, but wasn't seen to catch anything. It was sat in an area where I usually see Reed Bunting but none in that area today! It flew into the hedge between the hides just after 5 where it looked like it probably went to roost.

The Great Grey Shrike is classed as a rare winter visitor in the Lower Derwent Valley. There have been relatively few recent records in the valley. There was a record at North Duffield Carrs in 2008 (per Birdguides), and there was a bird reported by an RSPB group earlier this year at nearby Skipwith village which may potentially relate to today's bird. Prior to these records it appears as though it was 1999 (per Ralston) (which may also be the only other record from the North Duffield area of the LDV).

Below are a couple of very poor record phone-scoped photos - it was poor visibility and it was getting darker by the minute (and I was shaking a little)!

Great Grey Shrike - North Duffield Carrs

Great Grey Shrike - North Duffield Carrs

Great Grey Shrike - North Duffield Carrs

The waterfowl took a back seat this evening due to the above however the following was recorded: 51x Shoveler, 15x Curlew, 97x Whooper Swan, Lapwing, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Coot, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Canada Goose, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Grey Heron. Numbers of Wigein, Teal and Pintail were much higher than yesterday.

Potential Shrike food included Reed Bunting, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Blackbird and Robin.

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are better than mine Andy! Thanks again for the shout. I really appreciate it!!!