After a very late finish last night (or very early this morning!), a fairly early morning phone call asking me if I would like a shift today, was answered with a resounding no!
So, after being rudely awoken, I set off to make the most of the day. First stop, Big Waters, where two Bewick’s Swans have taken up residence. Too far for pictures, I was just happy that they had hung around so that I could see them; they have been too scarce in Northumberland lately.
Just up the road, at Prestwick Carr, after a bit of searching, the Great Grey Shrike is seen, way, way off in the distance. In fact so far off, a guy who looked through my scope said it was a Great Spotted Woodpecker!
I stopped at a different view point on the way out, and saw that I was much closer to where it was, but into the light. Trying to get the right side to take pictures, I lost sight of it. I was just about to give up when the bird flew in and hovered about twenty feet in front of me, in perfect light. Sadly, I had far too much lens on and couldn’t focus on the bird! This time I did give up, as again I had lost the bird, flying off to the north. As I was driving away, the shrike flew over the car from the west carrying a prey item, which looked like a bird. I was sure I had seen the shrike cache the prey, but after it flew off, I was unable to find the larder. It did return and some canny shots were taken.
I head to the other end of the Carr and spend an hour with the Short-eared Owls, at least seven today.
Also about, the ring-tail Hen Harrier, always too far for a worthwhile picture, six Common Buzzard, a Willow Tit and five Bullfinch
So while at this end, I got talking to some other birders who had been for the shrike, and they mention that they had seen eight Bean Geese! So its back to the other end and there they are just visible, they are in this picture…
By now I was getting cold and I bid farewell to all who would listen and I headed off. Leaving it late, I had a quick walk up to the hide at Big Waters, and with the last of the light, got some pictures of the Bewick’s Swans…
…and the Whooper Swans