Thursday, 5 June 2014

Red Backed Shrike.

What a bird! And a very enjoyable evening. I was still at work when the report came through of of a Red Backed Shrike in Warwickshire. A rare bird for these parts indeed. It seems the last recorded sighting was around 1986.

I hoped the bird was enjoying its chosen stop off point. That the hot weather would hold, that the insects and Bumble Bees it would be feasting on were plentiful, and that it would sit tight and wait for me to finish work and come to it.

My luck held. A rush home from work, change of clothes, grab the birding kit and straight back into the car with a coffee in my hand in under 10 minutes.

I arrived at WMBC Ladywalk Reserve (Permit Only) about 15 minutes later and set off to find the bird. I met up with some local birders and with the help of some good directions, we were soon looking at Warks first Red Backed Shrike for 28 years. And my first sighting ever!

The bird was distant, about 300 yards away, combine that with bright sunshine and heat haze, decent pictures were not going to be easy to obtain. It's at times like this you know you have to just do the best you can to try and obtain an acceptable record shot. My camera was struggling with the distance through the heat haze. The pictures even for record shots were poor.

So, it was time to put the iPhone and adapter to their first real test. This was a big ask of a phone camera, but worth a go. As it turns out, the results were a few very acceptable record shots. Not great pictures, but you can clearly see what the bird is.

An enjoyable evening, a great local tick, and it was nice to meet some more fellow birders and have laugh and a chat.

Red Backed Shrike - Phonescoped.




I also managed a bit of video footage.

The phone saves the day again.

This Warks MEGA was bound to attract plenty of attention. As I left, many were still arriving at Ladywalk, a gem of a reserve, to secure their Red Backed Shrike tick.

Birders arrive at Ladywalk.






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