Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Weekend:"Ospreys,Eagles and a Great Grey Shrike"

Well,only one of those was a real bird - Sat 22.March saw myself and friend Neil at the Millennium Stadium watching the Ospreys (Wales in disguise !) thump Saracens to set up a corking EDF Cup Final v Leicester followed by a first visit to the O2 Arena in London (a venue tick !!) on Sun 23.March to see The Eagles in concert on their "Long Road Out Of Eden" tour,if you can call 6 nights at the O2 a tour !!!
I had arranged to go to Swansea with Teresa today 25.March but the plan fell through and I therefore felt a bit awkward at turning down a local morning out with Wayne.
Anyway, the news of a Great Grey Shrike on Mynydd Margam was "a bit of a turn up for the books" as I've visited the site on several occasions this winter but with no luck,the bird has probably been in the vicinity since last Oct/Nov.
I parked up at Hafod Farm and started the long hiily trudge up to the site with my trusty Westie "Lily",there was plenty of activity in the trees with lots of Great/Blue/Coal Tits as well as Chaffinches and several Goldcrests.
On reaching the top of the mountain a pair of Ravens passed over and there seemed to be Meadow Pipits everywhere,as I walked up towards the clear fell area a small party of 4 "buzzing" Lesser Redpolls flew over.
As I reached the clear fell I lifted my bins and got straight on to the Great Grey Shrike which was perched on top of one of the re-planted conifers,as I set up the scope/camera to take a photo it flew across the gravel track and for the next hour or so used the various un-felled tree posts as perches whilst hunting.

I watched the bird for about an hour as it flitted back and forth it's perches taking beetles from the floor of the clear fell always eating them on top of one of the un-felled tree posts.

It was not even bothered when at one stage a Common Buzzard "bombed" a nearby hunting Kestrel which it must have seen as some sort of threat.

Although the bird showed really well and never disappeared from view it was always distant which with a keen wind made digi-scoping a little difficult,the battery in my camera I knew was also running low and as soon as I had got closer to the bird the bloody battery gave out,sod's law !!

No point in hanging about any longer then and so I made my way down the mountain back to the car with "Lily" in tow,I had hoped to pick up some Crossbills on the way down but was unlucky on this occasion,although my year list (I'm not listing !) is totally crap I've "ticked" Great Grey Shrike in both East and West Glamorgan in the same "first winter" period which is a feat that I've never managed before.

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