After almost 10 years of hurt I finally nailed down Masked Shrike for my British List… and at Spurn! It almost didn’t happen. I hadn’t really noticed that since I upgraded to iOS8 I hadn’t been getting birdnews messages from Birdguides, so on Saturday mid morning I was shocked to log on to facebook to see messages about a Masked Shrike at Spurn… arses! I sent plenty of urgent texts, Greeny and Jamesy had both gone, Archie wasn’t around he was in Norfolk. Bollocks! Suddenly a text back from Dave Hutton… he was up for the trip on Sunday. Yes! With Masked Shrike veterans Dave Gray and Archie both on board we had a car full.
Sunday morning was clear with stars littering the dark skies above Quorn as I took Minnie out. Don’t get me wrong the County Council turning off streetlights pleases me… clear skies overnight before a twitch make me anxious. My last attempt at a Masked Shrike ended in disaster at Uttoxeter when Keith Allsop’s oh so reliable Saab 93 blew a head-gasket on the A50 near midnight back in 2004.
By the time we crossed the Humber Bridge we knew the bird was there and we were soon watching a stunning juvenile Masked Shrike. I love Shrikes, they’re my favourite genus and a new one on my British List is something special. My long range iPhonescoped shot was poor, in fact it’s a video grab that a took as the bird flicked its tail around in true Masked style.
After a while we decided to try and see some of the other great birds around but on the road we stumbled into the Shrike again giving superb views.
Here’s another shot, this time a digiscoped shot by Justin Carr.
In the Churchyard we couldn’t connect with the Wood Warbler or the OBP on The Canal but we had great views of the Red-breasted Flycatcher and this dancing Whinchat.
After a Pasty and Coffee it was where to go next. Sammy’s Point was decided upon to get far from the maddening crowds.
At Sammy’s we couldn’t find the Yellow-browed but another less showy R-b Fly gave us all the runaround.
By now we were ready for home and Archie wanted to listen to Manure demolish Leicester City on the wireless… 2-1 at half-time meant United were back… at 3-1 he was ecstatic… oh how the mighty fall!
With his pride having taken a battering the only option left was to join Dave and find peace in sleep… wrong!
A great day out with some brilliant laughs – almost all at Archie’s expense. Still he has the power to financially cripple the lot of us… what a banker!