Monday, March 12, 2007

Home Again

Back from a great break in Florida - some pics to follow - a quick scan of the local birding websites revealed one bird not to be missed. A great grey shrike had been resident in the Forest of Dean for about a month, and this would be a first for me. Excellent directions on the Gloster Birder website (see links) led me to the spot and I had half an hour in peace with the bird before other birders were rolling up. As you can see in the first shot it was showing well, but was just a bit too far away for easy snaps. A couple of maximum zoom digiscoped shots provided at least a record, however. Chris Grady has some better shots, including one of it regurgitating a pellet (again see links to his website).

The welsh name for this bird is Cigydd Mawr, or great butcher, and that is in keeping with quite a reputation for rapacity. Although mainly taking beetles and big insects they will take birds, and have been recorded attacking victims as large as stoat, fielfares and even injured grouse!

The bird was near Cannop Ponds, and even though time was tight I did manage a couple of shots of the local mandarin duck population as I passed, but I know I can do better there. The drakes look great at present, though.

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