Sunday, 14 August 2011

Chipping Away

First Chipping Norton and now Chipping Sodbury !

I woke really early today, so decided not to waste the opportunity and set off on a twitch. Chipping Sodbury in South Gloucestershire was the destination, where a Woodchat Shrike had taken up residence for the last week or so. Now I have seen dozens of these on holidays in Mallorca and Portugal, but this would be a British first.
 Setting off at about 5.15, I arrived at the site around 7.30, highlights of the journey down being numerous Buzzards, Kestrels a couple of Sparrowhawks and a pair of Ravens that flew low over the road near Bibury.
 The only directions I had on arriving were park near the farm buildings and walk 800 yards West. No-one else was around, so this might have been hard work.
 As it happened it wasn't, having covered what I guessed was about the right distance, I stopped and scanned around. The first bird I locked onto was a female Redstart flycatching from a nearby hedge, then a slightly bigger bird on the side of a Rose bush a bit further on was surely the Shrike ! A look through the scope and yes it was. Wow birding at it's easiest !
 I stayed and watched this rather smart bird for some 20 minutes or so before a local dog walker suddenly appeared and flushed it off. A quick wander around the site produced dozens of Bullfinches, Goldfinches and Linnets, but little else.
 Great weather helped make this a perfect twitch and made up for some of the recent ordinary birding. 

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