Friday 17 February 2017

Northern Sentinel

A rumour of a local Great Grey Shrike came true today down at Acaster Airfield when it was relocated near Ebor Trucks. The lure of lunchtime twitching was too much so three of us shot down there from the office at lunch. Sadly the few birders on site had not seen it for a few hours so we spread out to search. The air was full of the spring song of Skylarks and Yellowhammers, it was a joy to be away from my desk. No sign in the usual area we headed south down the road to check more bushes. The sinking feeling set in - this wouldn't be the first time I had dipped a GGS in this area!
Scanning back towards the truck depot and there it was, sitting sentinel-like on the very top of an Ash! Fab! Quick scope views all round then we drove back up the road to get a closer look. The shrike was not at all concerned by our presence and I managed to get a couple of shots. Something was clearly attracting it's attention in a nearby patch of scrub and after a couple of minutes of intense staring, it dived groundwards into the blackthorn patch and vanished. The other birders who I had whistled arrived and soon I picked it up again more distantly on top of an Oak at the back of the field. It continued to move around and after a few minutes came back towards us, perching on a Spruce and then a Birch. Lunchtime twitching rewarded, smiles all round and back to the office to carry on working for Yorkshire's wildlife. Well done Alan Swain for relocating the bird today.

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