Thursday, 15 October 2009

Brown Shrike!

The Staines Moor Brown Shrike (David Darrell Lambert)
Yesterday was an interesting day. At daybreak I was camped in the car on a street near Staines Moor having waited in the dark contemplating visions of this eastern surprise. A small group of birders also had the same idea and soon we were all standing on the moor in the general area to where the bird was last seen the night before.

By 8.30am there was no sign and apart from a Barn Owl, a few Redwings and a couple of Snipe passing overhead we had collectively seen little else. I had to leave to go to a meeting in London, so I begrudgingly left and walked the mile or so back to the car. I must have been on the road for 15 minutes before the call came out that the shrike was showing well. I nearly veered off the road whilst turning the air blue intermittently screaming 'no!!' at the top of my lungs. I arrived at my meeting totally gripped off, tears streaming down my cheeks (metaphorically speaking).

After my meeting I still felt the urge to return to the scene of the crime to claim the shrike for my British list. I had metamorphosed into a fully blown twitcher. Something I hadn't been since the '80's. To cut a long story slightly shorter, return I did. And after 10 minutes I was enjoying medium ranged clear views of this fairly distinctive shrike. It certainly looked less scalloped, had darker ear coverts, shorter primaries and a longer more spindly tail than any Red-backed Shrike I've seen.

Twitching urge satisfied, I headed back home. I didn't feel possessed anymore. How long will I be stable for? The answer my friends is written in the winds.

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