I was all set for a weekend of alpine talks down in South Wales. I rather fancied getting some birding in down there but equally, the Brown Clee Hawfinch was a real tempter.
In the end it was no contest and Friday morning (plus a bit of the afternoon) was spent in Shropshire!
A patient wait was necessary and after an hour or so the bird didn't disappoint. Getting a decent image was absolutely impossible however, the bird always partly obscured by the annoying amount of the twiggy Hawthorn bush it was feeding in!!
Never mind, record shots they may be but a nice memory of a second Shropshire lifer in the past week!
Here's the bush....
And here's the bird (with bits of bush in the way!!)....
At least another hour was spent scouring the summit area for a Great grey Shrike with several other birders but with no success. It was treacherous terrain up there too with freeze/thaw conditions giving rise to a lot of ice!
There were role models too for at least one less enterprising 'youngster' who found the slog to the top a little too much to try!! Richard Dodwell is 83 and yomped (well sort of) up and down the steep track TWICE in search of Shrike and Hawfinch. This ice patch may have been a bridge too far but Richard, pictured here with his good lady wife - I salute you both (and I did take my hat off!!!)
Next stop was South Wales and knowing I still had a little time to spare, a quick pit stop at Hereford cathedral where within minutes, the maleBlack Redstart announced he was still in residence!
A couple more record shots before he was off towards the nearby houses and then, as I only had a few minutes, so was I.....