Sunday, 16 November 2014

Hengistbury Head - Isabelline Shrike

I had a plan!! There were three year ticks on offer if it worked.....  but I had to keep to deadlines! From my starting point near Chippenham, I got down to Portland just before 9am for bird no 1 - Dusky Warbler (294) which showed really well, literally as I walked in to the footpath close to the Hump at Easton  - out in the open on arrival!! . Problem was, whilst I savoured awesome bins views, the camera was still in the bag!! It was calling quite often and apart from fleeting glimpses thereafter never came into the open again. And then the heavens opened!!! I gave it another hour, the rain eased, it was still calling but no showing - I had to move on with a 'lifer'  hopefully waiting over at Hengistbury Head?

The tense drive was followed with dark clouds looming on arrival - rain was the last thing I needed but with a 'spring' in my step, headed up the golf course where I could see a small group of birders. Was my luck turning??

It was now 12.40 and (briefly) adjacent to the 17th tee in the densely packed scrub - look what popped up :-) With rain starting to fall, Isabelline Shrike (295) - you little beauty - this time the camera was out and ready!

It showed briefly a bit further away and then flew and never showed again :-(

Flicking through my 'challenge series' - Daurian or Turkestan Shrike? Looking at images it appeared to show features of the latter with tail grading to black at the tip but the supercilium and overall warm colours favoured Daurian? The vaguaries of light (and rain) all play their park but I'll plump for Daurian....

I stayed as long as I dared but then I realised time was running out if I was to get to Gosport......