20th March 2015 – Great grey Shrike

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Great grey Shrike, during a little “off-piste” birding in the Cuckmere.

Overcast becoming bright after 11am, moderate & cold ENE wind. I started off at Beachy Head trying to find a Wheatear but again managed a blank, the cloud cover also made the eclipse a total non-event, which was disappointing! Apart from a drop in temperature and duped Wood Pigeon coming into to roost at Belle Tout, not much happened. The sun then dully came out an hour too late, but did make for a fine spring like day. I went on to the Cuckmere in an effort to find the Shrike that had been present for a while. Fortunately the bird flew past me whilst I was walking the path and preceded to hunt along the riverside, beneath the white horse. It spent about an hour there, giving the best views of a UK Great grey Shrike I’ve had for years. A Little Owl called from cover several times, sounding close but remained unseen.

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A few 100 each of Teal and Wigeon on the east side of the river, with the odd PintailGadwall & Shoveler mixed in. A fine drake Garganey also was found whilst I was there as well as a single Ruff. 2 Linnet flew through, which I’ve still yet to see return to Beachy Head this spring. Back on Beachy Head, a Short-eared Owl was flushed from cover above Belle Tout wood at sunset. I wonder if this is last weeks bird (although no sightings for 9 days) but possibly a new migrant.

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Grey Heron.

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