24.9.16.

Saturday…Dull and Grey with light rain…13ºC.

I decided today to go for the Lesser Grey Shrike at Jennycliff, Mount Batten, near Plymouth. The Lesser Grey Shrike is a bird I have dipped on twice. So I was starting to call this my Bogey Bird. Both my previous attempts have been in Norfolk. So it’s cost me a bit of petrol money in the past.

I started out from home at 3:30am, with the sat nav telling me it would take 3 hours 45 minutes (a lot more petrol money). When I arrived, I was helped out by seeing 2 birders walking from a car park with scopes. So I unpacked my gear quickly, and tried not to let the birders out my sight. Luckily only 200 metres from the car park, the 2 birders put their scopes up and started to scan the area. I asked them if they were local, both answered yes. The one guy had seen the bird go to roost the night before, and was looking in that area. After about half an hour it popped up on top of a Hawthorn tree, the tree was perched on the side of a sea cliff. I must admit it was yet another Bitter Sweet Day. Like most of my lifers this year, this Shrike was distant….In fact I’m starting to wonder if I’ve run over a Black Cat…or maybe I’m just going through an unlucky period of my bird photography. It does make me wonder…when just the day before, this Shrike was perched on a fence post, and people were sitting on a bench only 10 feet away from it.

I would like to thank Paul an Ex Royal Navy Commando, who kindly gave me great views of the Lesser Grey Shrike through his scope. Also telling me about many of the buildings in the area, and about the Naval Ships/Boats anchored in Plymouths natural harbour. In fact it help kill a couple of hours, of Shrike-less viewing. The bird did not show again for me, so when it started to rain, and happy to get this Life Tick and Record photo, I decided to head home early.

Distant Record Photo…Note the Black Forecrown, and Pinkish flush to it’s belly. Now I’ve seen this stunning bird, I really want a better photo…

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Another disappointment is that I did not take my other camera to take some of the Royal Navy’s vessels, and also give me a wider angle for the scene I was looking at. I did take a few photos of some of the surrounding buildings with the big lens, which made it such a special place to bird watch in. Shame about the scaffolding on the castle…

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Great setting for a wedding, but not a Nice Day for a White Wedding. I could just make the Bride out by the Marquee …

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These guys were keeping a close eye on the Naval Vessels….

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Like I say…I was disappointed with my Shrike photo, but don’t get me wrong…I’m overjoyed to add this stunning bird to my Life List…Number 311.

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