Monday, 16 September 2013

Lesser Grey Shrike in Suffolk

I had one eye on the Lesser Grey Shrike reported in Suffolk yesterday when I left home this morning but decided to pay the Canvey Island RB Shrike a visit first as the light was great this morning.
I arrived early to find Dave Mo. already on site and searching and within a short while we'd found the bird.
The little star then put on quite a show coming too close for my 400mm lens at times as it chased insects along the fence line. I couldn't help but grab some shots despite last weeks encounter with another Essex bird of similar star quality.
Red-backed Shrike Canvey Marsh
Red-backed Shrike Canvey Marsh
Red-backed Shrike Canvey Marsh
A Sprawk flew through and the the reserve was alive with Swallows. Over head we had Green Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Blackwits and a single Wheatear flew across towards the river too. Also of note was a small Acro warbler that provoked some discussion due to it's liking for the thorn bushes and it's crooked shape. Reed or maybe somebody a little smarter than me might find enough to ID it differently.

Reed Warbler....or is it?
At 9am news came through that the Lesser Grey Shrike had stuck over night so my journey up the A130/A12 began and I arrived around 11am parking up in Leiston to walk to the cottages and along the bridleway behind the stables where I found a small group of birders (John R. Chris B, Nick A etc.) enjoying good views of what would turn out to be a lifer for me. The LGS hopped along the fence line feeding before catching a large Bee and taking it away deep into a bramble to feast giving me reason to depart.(274)
Distant record shot of my first ever Lesser Grey Shrike
Whilst I was now under the shadow of Sizewell I took time to walk the beach towards the outfall where I found a prize in the shape of an Arctic Skua which obliged with a photograph allowing quite a close approach which I'd tested by watching the dog walkers and how close they got before it took flight.
Arctic Skua at Sizewell beach Suffolk

All in all a very enjoyable day.


  1. wow, love that camera....... fantastic shot of lunch served up lol

  2. Thanks Tilly, I was pleased with that shot. I arrived early and the light was perfect.