Another rainy mid summers day was in store. Staffordshire was going through one of its quiet spells again, but there was one bird to go for. We headed down to Aqualate where a MARSH HARRIER had been reported during the week. We entered the hide and as soon as we had sat down we were watching a female Marsh Harrier quatering the reed bed. A Kingfisher also showed well in front of the hide.
Kingfisher at Aqualate
Female Marsh Harrier at Aqualate
We had finished at Aqualate by 0930hrs, and we headed over to Blithfield. A check from the causeway revealed not much at all. We headed over to the pits as usual. It was while I was at Branston that I received a call from RTo. He'd received information that there was a RED-BACKED SHRIKE at Blackbank. As I was too far away, I immediately rang fellow Clayhead PJ who was re-painting his painting again. Its not very often that I get to tell him to get his shoes on! PJ threw his paint brush down and raced up. He walked down the Silverdale track and met two birders. Apparently they were very pleased to see another birder and PJ was able to confirm their initail thoughts that it was indeed a female Red-backed Shrike, and news was rang out.
We decided to leave the pits (quiet, wet & windy) and we headed back towards home. We arrived at Blackbank just after 14-00hrs, and it started to rain quite persistently. The Red-backed Shrike showed well but distantly as it sat on a fence half way down the field. It continues a run of unexpected birds for Staffordshire this year.
Distant shots of the Blackbank Red-backed Shrike
and a shot from PJ