9 Nov 2008

About that Shrike.

An early dart this morning over to a sunny but wind swept Lincs where the Steppe Grey Shrike duly performed despite being harrassed by inconsiderate dickheads who, lacking any form of field craft, were intent on running up to tthe bird wherever it landed and sticking their lenses where the sun doesn't shine! I walked away disgusted at the behaviour of a small minority. If they'd had the patience to wait the bird would have come to them. The day started badly when my sons car refused to start with a flat battery - not something I'd anticipated dealing with at 5 am!!!. That small problem was soon overcome and I arrived on site after an uneventful journey. The Shrike, as they say, was showing its proverbials off and by waiting patiently superb views were obtainable.

A very distinctive bird with very pale plumage tones and a pale lores. It was exceptionally tame which made the disturbance all the more unacceptable. Two or three people were actually running towards it when ever it moved and instead of staying at a reasonable distance ignored anyone who might have been watching it and got ever closer until they flushed it. My car is the blue one in the photo. The bird had landed on the track alongside it and these two proceeded to get closer and closer until the inevitable happened.

Everyone one else stood back and watched from a distance. Such w*nkers give photographers a bad name. I don't think they were birders - they certainly didn't have 'scopes or appear to have binoculars.

From Grainthorpe I made the quick dash over the Humber bridge to Reighton for the Pied Wheatear that showed more distantly on the camp site. No pics of that as I'd filled the camera card with the Shrike and anyway it was pretty non-descript. I'll have to do some research and try and find out why it wasn't an eastern race Black-eared Wheatear!

EDIT: The following photo is an uncropped version of the one above. As can be seen there are no other birders around. They were all stood back (see the shadows). The guy lying down flushed the bird from the path between two groups of birders by getting to close on the inside of the field. When it flew to the cars he then got within a few feet of it before flushing it again.