What a great place to spend a few hours bird watching. Those who read my blog (I know the 2 of you) will know this is my third visit to see the Brown Shrike, though this time I was trying for some improved photographs and as you can see I lucked out in that department. I did try the scope / mobile combination as well as the K20 + 300mm lens but even though I had better views than my last visit it just wasn't close enough for my gear and the sooner I can get the money together for the Sigma 500mm lens the better but hey I digress.
YES IT REALLY IS THE BROWN SHRIKE!
Whilst there I met Bob a local patch birder who was most helpful in getting some extra sightings in the area and 2 guys from Derby who had come down early in the morning and whom I joined for a walk around the patch. Once finished with the shrike I followed the river south in search of a Water Pipit that has been seen in the area but apart from a Kingfisher, several Pied Wagtail there seemed to be no sign of it. A large flock of Pipit type birds caught my attention but these seemed to be mainly Skylark and I'm sure the odd Meadow and Tree Pipit. It was further around the bend of the river the Water Pipit appeared though it didn't stay still long enough to even get a record shot. Also down at this end of the patch was a Little Egret a bird I see regularly at Leighton Moss but not something seen much in this area.
LITTLE EGRET WITH A GREY HERON IN THE BACKGROUND
The walk back to the spot I saw the shrike brought a grounded Green Woodpecker, Blackbird and a distant Greater Spotted Woodpecker. The shrike didn't seem to be showing so not having much time I decided to head back. The walk back gave 2 Stonechat, several Tit flocks including Long Tailed but no sign of the Firecrest that has been amongst them in the area, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, 20 Fieldfare, Reed Bunting and a Cetti's Warbler. Anyone looking for the Cetti's (it was more luck than skill that we came across it), there is an open area to the right with barbed wire and a sign saying 'private keep out'. In the distance you will see some reed beds but we noticed it behind a Reed Bunting in the reddish looking tree to the left of the reed beds. It was its call that attracted us to it at first, very loud and distinctive and the fact I'd heard on at Leighton Moss 2 weeks before helped.