Monday, 14 March 2011

Saturday 12th March 2011

And so we returned to Cannock Chase again this Saturday following another spate of sightings of the GREAT GREY SHRIKE in the week. CJW joined us this week despite a severe foot injury. What a hero! Just before we arrived at the Cadet Huts, we knew the GREAT GREY SHRIKE had been seen at 08-15hrs flying towards the Old Quarry. We parked up at 09-00hrs and met Rob Swift (retrospectively identified later) walking back to his car. Armed with his information we headed towards the Quarry, but there was no sign of it. We decided to head towards the Shooting Butts and explore the area behind. We started to descend into the valley but CJW was lagging behind and was still at the top on high ground when he spotted the Shrike in the distance on the pine belt behind the mound. We hurried over in the general direction it was heading but again there was no sign. I even climbed the mound to survey the whole area, but it was looking like it had escaped again. Then, four birdwatchers walked up and we had a chat before we walked to view the valley again. Then, one of the four immediately spotted the Great Grey Shrike in one of the birches directly in front of us. We'd finally seen it on our third attempt! One of the group that found it was on his ninth attempt.

Great Grey Shrike, Cannock Chase - my first on the Chase since 2000

Next stop was Branston GP's, seeing a Ruff on the first pit but apart from seven Curlew on the Sandy Pit it was fairly quiet.

Tree Sparrow seen at a feeding station near to Branston last week

As we were walking back to the car, GM phoned to say the GREAT WHITE EGRET was in Tad Bay. It was still early in the day, and so we decided to hot foot it over. It was still present at the bottom of the bay when we arrived, and although the views were distant, at least the light was better than when we last saw it.