Monday, 14 October 2013

Take a Butcher's

Great Grey Shrike, Burnham Deepdale
Butcher's is short for Butcher's Hook which is Cockney rhyming slang for Look, so take a Butcher's means take a look. Shrikes are known as Butcher birds due to their habit of impaling their prey on thorn bushes. Hence this blog's title.

Been loads of Shrikes along the east coast this past week, I lucked into this bird as I drove home from work this evening. Crap picture of a great bird.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Gulls - Large & Small

Immature Herring Gulls, The Wash, Hunstanton
A pattern is beginning to slowly emerge, the kids are still both demanding and rewarding, but as no2 son heads towards his second birthday small windows of time are more regularly coming my way and I am choosing to spend them below the cliffs at the end of our road in Hunstanton. I say "choosing" in some ways I am lucky that the nearest open space to our home is a stretch on beach facing onto the Wash, doubly lucky as I don't really have the time yet to travel further afield.

And so I sense that I have re calibrated my expectations has to what is a good or interesting sighting, in one sense this reminds me of patch watching in London in the 80's when what constituted a rarity was defined by its status in north London. So too now I am taking pleasure from the birds I am managing to winkle out on my short visits to the base of the cliffs.

Today having persuaded no1 son [age 4] to join me I had 40 minutes mid afternoon under the cliffs just as the tide dropped. A large flock of young Herring Gulls hung in the air below the sea wall looking to snatch starfish that had been swept onto the shore by the receding tide. Offshore a steady passage of immature Gannets headed for the mouth of the Wash and I think I saw 30+, a few Turnstones, Oystercatchers and Bar Tailed Godwits flew past low over the choppy waves and a trio of Red Breasted Mergansers. But my best bird was a stunning winter plumaged adult Little Gull, wonderful dark underwings and white trailing edges. I got a lot of satisfaction for picking this small gull out as it flew by low over the grey sea.