Thursday, 12 July 2012

Spoons and Shrikes: two ticks

OK, not Brit ticks, but a patch tick and a London tick. First, news that a Spoonbill had reappeared at Barnes had me running for the car. I’d missed it (presumably the same bird that has spent most of its time at Rainham) last week, when it turned up just before the reserve shut, so a second chance was really welcome. A quick scan from the Obs showed the Spoonbill sitting on the shingle bank favoured by the loafing gulls. It was, predictably, asleep. I went round to Dulverton to find Johnny Allen already there and watched the bird for a while, during which it woke up briefly a few times to preen. Water levels were high throughout the site and there were no waders around, but the young birds included two Pochard chicks, one Gadwall chick (down from two a week ago) and four Common Tern chicks.
Next up was a run out to Hayes where a male Red backed Shrike had been seen yesterday evening and again this morning. The M4 is closed so I went round in a big loop to avoid it and didn’t run into too many holdups. The shrike was showing less than a hundred yards from the car park – originally buried in a bush but often showing well as it hunted for prey on the ground. Absolutely stunning male and a London tick. I don’t list in London but I do keep a list of birds I've seen there (confusing I know). It’s the kind of thing I had half assumed I would have seen in the London area before, but I hadn’t. Double tick!

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