Saturday, 16 October 2010


When I got to the Monument this morning all the regular birders were already in front of the Bluebirds tea room "vis-migging" and another group were assembling in the car park. This was a group for the University at Canterbury, let by the KWT warden Tony Swandale. They were already watching the Goldfinches and Swallows on the move and we had a short chat about the prospects for the day. Later as I was waking towards the cliff top I saw Tony's group, obviously intently watching something. Was a couple of hundred yards away and when Tony saw me he gave me a wave. I know that he's friendly but this was a wave of get over here. When I got there and invited to look down his telescope, I was delighted to see a Great Grey Shrike sitting on a bush right on the edge of the cliff. I alerted the rest of the Bockhill birds and most got there in time to see the bird before it flew across the Big Field, towards the Empty Wood. Although we all spread out and searched the area we couldn't re-find this stunning bird. Tony says that they first saw it as it flew over their heads before settling for a few minutes on the bush where I saw it.

Late this afternoon I had another look round. I walked from home to Hogsbush and then up to the golf course. I had a feeling that evening time might be a good time to find the shrike hunting. Looking over Bockhill from the start of the Tenth Hole I could scan the top of the bushes in the Freedown and also the hedge alongside the course. There was no sign of the shrike, but I did wonder whey the Border Agency vessel was so close in to the shore, just out from the bushes where the Shrike had been.

The light was fading fast and I had no better luck as I scanned towards the monument and the farm. For a biggish bird it had managed a pretty convincing vanishing trick.

I watch the sun set from up on the tenth tee and then walked back, happy to have missed the nil nil draw of Villa and Chelsea.

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