With news of a juvenile Red-backed Shrike being found by Geoff Burton at Seasalter, I wandered over to the Yacht club along the coastal road through Seasalter last Tuesday (23rd) but by 9.00am I had drawn a blank. I was making my way back to the car when the bird popped up alongside the road in a Hawthorn bush and gave great views for a few minutes before disappearing into low scrub out on the marsh. I could not re-locate it by 10 o clock so left after getting a few shots of the bird as it munched on a Crane fly.
After hearing that the bird was seen throughout the day and went to roost in the same bush as the previous night, I returned on the Wednesday afternoon, (24th) and was treated to exceptionally close up views of the bird and at one time the bird alighted from the top of a bush and grabbed a Crane Fly, less than a metre from my feet as I sat watching from my vantage point on a grassy embankment. The bird buried itself in the grass and emerged with the Crane Fly, leaving the four photographers watching slightly bewildered as to how the Shrike knew the insect was there in the first place. A few images were taken as the Shrike performed admirably just metres in front of the four lucky photographers.
I sat with Marc Heath for an hour or so on Thursday morning (26th) in the Feast hide at Grove Ferry where the Kingfisher's were again seen although their visits to the perches in front of the hide seem to be less numerous and I wonder if this has something to do with the flood repair work that is ongoing along the river bank to the North of the hide. The machinery and dumpers can be seen and heard from the hide so it may have a bearing on the Kingfisher feeding habits. A smart looking female Marsh Harrier caught us unaware but a quick burst with the camera resulted in a few usable images. It's not too often you hear photographer's saying "it's too close".