Sunday, 18 October 2020

Masked Shrike at Shuart in Kent

Whilst in Norfolk yesterday I had one eye on the Masked Shrike found down in Kent and hoped it would stay long enough for me to connect with it. I was lucky enough to see one before in Yorkshire a few years ago but there has only been three records until this year when one was found in Cleveland before this bird became Britains fifth record once accepted officially.

The Jims needed the Shrike for a tick so I called and arranged to meet them at Shuart this morning. We travelled in seperate cars as is our legal obligation in Essex now but to be fair we have not shared a car since March to limit the chances of Dad contracting the virus. Once parked up I walked down the lane and the Jims soon joined me along with a dozen or so others which was a nice change from the carnage of yesterdays twitch for the Rufous Robin. The Shrike was sat out in the open and gave great scope views for a while before it started to feed on wasps and beetles along the hedgerow. It always sat on the far side of the hedge but on a couple of occasions it allowed a brief view long enough to grab a couple of images. 

Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike 

I watched Buzzard and Kestrel drift past before spotting a Short-eared Owl high up in the clouds being mobbed by a crow. Of the birds calling overhead I had several Redpoll a Brambling and lots of Redwing. The bushes lining the footpath were alive with Goldcrests and Rich B had a Dusky Warbler which I tried to help him refind but failed to locate it after an hour looking. At the farm I had a flock of Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tits but couldn't find anything else with them. Later I watched a larger flock of Goldcrest with a single Yellow-browed Warbler. 

I must have seen at least a hundred Goldcrest today which is always a joy and so many familiar faces too.

My cracking weekend ended with the following additions to my year and life lists....

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Masked Shrike, Pallas's Warbler and Red-flanked Bluetail  

Much easier to keep some distance today with the smaller crowd

Year list 267



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