Great Grey Shrike – Horsey


Having found myself with both unexpected sunshine and a couple of  spare hours it only took a few updates from the RBA line to suggest that today was not a day for walking the patch but a day for walking the coast. Early sightings in the area of the Nelson Head track at Horsey included ring ouzel, lapland bunting and richards pipit any of which would have graced a year list.Calling nuthatches and jackdaws in the garden failed to tempt me to stay home.I parked at the Horsey Windpump not looking quite so glamorous with its sails off presumably for a refurb. The sun was high and warm and only the hint of russet and ochre on the hedge margins and the enigmatic calls calls of pinkfooted geese overhead gave the  Autumn season away.

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One of the larger skeins of geese today

I hung around the first patch of woodland for a bit but the only inhabitants really showing were magpies and long-tailed tits supplemented by wrens, robins, blue tits and great tits. On my return journey the same patch was alive with passing jackdaws and rooks and the buzz of goldcrests was punctuated briefly by the distinctive call of a yellow-browed warbler. The latter one of a significant influx lately and a Siberian overshoot was not keen on giving itself away other than by call.

The Nelson’s Head track to the beach named after the local pub was giving away none of its early morning rarities. Tempting flashes of little brown birds were stonechats and meadow pipits with a skylark or two for good measure. Local rooks and woodpigeons were spooked by a couple of buzzards and the fields were occasionally alive with flocks of goldfinch and linnet.

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Horsey Stonechat

Having initially drawn a blank I followed the few telescope carrying birders to a patch of scrub about half a mile south of the end of the path where it meets the dunes this was the area which a great grey shrike had been using recently to hunt from. Today the bird did not disappoint and whilst slightly distant its striking patterns and distinctive bandit mask were easy to spot. The bird hunted from tall thistles and fence posts and although I didn’t see it catch anything several meadow pipits had a close shave.

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Great Grey Shrike Credit: Andy & Helen 🙂 🙂 via Compfight cc

The return journey was never going to be complete without a quick look on the beach. There was not a great deal of birdlife with some flypast red throated divers and cormorants joined only by a paddling herring gull. A couple of the posts had cormorants on top drying out and resting after fishing.

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Cormorant post decoration

Horsey beach whilst not so hot today for bird life did excel on the animal front with the almost permanent grey seals lazing and playing in the sun.

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It was fairly easy to get relaxed photos using my 300 lens and follow the safety advice to stay more than 30 meters away from the seals and get relaxed seal photos. The apparent translation of this advice by some tourists was ensure you stand less than 3 meters from an agitated seal when taking a selfie of yourself with your back turned on his bared canines.

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The last photo of this series is also the last of the pups born this year, still showing some white fur most of his big siblings are a much more grown up spotty pattern. The journey back to the village was pleasantly punctuated by soaring buzzards clearly enjoying the early Autumn sunshine.

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3 thoughts on “Great Grey Shrike – Horsey

  1. What an excellent post, with such an interesting assortment of wildlife, I was photographing a Richard’s Pipit (known here also as Australian Pipit) on Sunday in Newcastle here in Australia. Looking at your birds I can see how our birds got their names when the British settlers arrived.

    Liked by 2 people

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