Great Grey Shrike (Anders Price)
I have been in tears all day - from the second I opened my eyes this morning to this very moment. You see, I have been on The Azores for 8 days now. Many of you will be thinking 'lucky bugger' and you would be right for thinking those thoughts, but my problem is not as simple as that.
I have been marooned on Flores, my favourite of the nine islands that make up the Azores, since Saturday. There has been no flights out of the island since last Thursday due to the inclement weather born from Hurricane Otto that had been threatening to lash the east coast of the US. Don't get me wrong, I've been keeping myself busy, often in the driving wind and lashing rain, finding a dowitcher sp and enjoying such beauties as a personally long awaited Upland Sandpiper, American Redstart, Grey Catbird and Rose-breasted Grosbeak plus a host of tantalizing views including the merest of glances at a cuckoo sp.
Not being able to get off the island was one thing; as I had a host of things to do this week including giving a talk to the Preston Bird Watching and Natural History Society. But the biggest thing and the reason for my day long tears was the discovery this morning of a Great Grey Shrike at The Scrubs. I had predicted the appearance of a shrike as our next bogey bird shortly after putting the ghost of our previous bogey bird to rest. After 18 years, we had seen our first Red Kite drifting over this summer, so I had told my fellow Scrubbers to look out for a shrike this autumn.
One has now turned up and I'm stuck on the bloody Azures! I couldn't care if I found a first for the Western Palearctic tomorrow - I'm a Scrubber, get me out of here!