Champions of the Flyway!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Turkestan Shrike, Bempton - July '22

Well, you would, wouldn't you? Having turned up ten days ago just down the road at Bempton RSPB, this Bobby Dazzler was, very considerately, still present when I dropped in on the way back home from survey work today.
It seemed unlikely it'd stick around long enough - we only got back from the Dordogne a couple of days ago, and the interim has been mostly taken up with family stuff and work catch-up; and to be honest, the now-usual photo-overkill on social media and stories of mobs of fieldcraftless photographers somewhat muted my prioritising of catching up with it.
But... surely most of the crowds would've ebbed away after ten days; it is just down the road; it would be educational; it's only a minor diversion on the way home; and it's a shrike, for Christ's sake (and oh, how I love shrikes....).
So I bit the bullet, and I'm very glad I did - after about five minutes wait by its favoured haunt, it hopped out onto a close, exposed perch and tarted around perfectly for a few minutes before eventually disappearing into the hedge. Twenty minutes later, I was on the other side of the bushes when it gave a repeat performance, again ridiculously close, and again completely fearlessly.
A great bird, a nice, calm twitch (with just a handful of others in the area), and a very useful lesson for when I find one myself, any year now....