Sunday, 8 September 2013

Red-backed Shrike, Saves the day!

With no firm plans in place today, we decide to head for Landguard in Suffolk.
Arriving around 7.30 we split up to cover as much of the area as possible. I begin my search along the beach and surrounding bushes.
Plenty of Linnets, Dunnocks and Greenfinches were seen and at least four Wheatears were found either on the beach or perched on top of the bushes nearby.

I headed along the beach towards the boardwalk and Harwich Harbour, meeting up with Brian close to the boardwalk.
Shortly afterwards he picks out an Arctic Skua which I manage to connect with before it's lost to view. 
Not much else of note out at sea today, just the odd tern going through, but Brian had already had a smart looking Lesser Whitethroat in the shrub before I had joined him. 
The walk back towards the car park produced very little in the way of birds, with only three more Wheatears of any note.

A few species of Butterfly were seen, with Small Tortoiseshell, Small Blue, Large White and two very nice Clouded yellows.

Disappointed with the morning we head towards home stopping off at Layer Breton Causeway.
Here we found plenty of Lapwing, Ruff and Little Egrets with a single Green Sandpiper feeding along the margins of the reeds.
Scanning the skies above the distant trees produced two Common Buzzards and three Hobbies.

From here we decide to try our luck and see if we could connect with a recently reported Red-Backed Shrike.
Not expecting the shrike to be present and if it was still present expecting it to be reasonably distant, we walked the path until we could see a very small group of birders up ahead of us.
We then realised that the shrike was in fact perched up in the bushes closest to the path. Crippling views of a stunning bird.

It spent most of the time we were there perched in these bushes, occasionally leaving here and heading to bushes further into the nearby field or heading low into the ditch only to reappear back in the same bush.
Scanning the nearby pools produced several Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits, Avocets and Lapwings and a single Greenshank that could be heard often but proved much more difficult to pin down.
But the real interest here was that stunning Red-backed Shrike. 

An added bonus for me was I needed it for a year tick!

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