WOT, NO HAT! (or Shrike)

Waking to another grey morning I set of for Fyfield Down. In the back of my mind was the possibility of finding a Woodchat Shrike. I had only walked about two hundred yards from the car and was regretting not staying in bed. It was just cold and miserable and as you may have guessed I had left my hat and gloves at home. On the drive up from the A4 I had seen a couple of Grey Partridge. Next decent bird seen was a female Wheatear. I then spotted a pair of Red Legged Partridge which from their behavior may have had young nearby. They actually came closer to me, were very vocal and appeared to be trying to lead me away. Geeen Woodpecker was heard and then seen along with Whitethroat, Long Tailed Tit and Song Thrush. Another couple of Wheatear were found along with some Skylark. It was a relief to reach Totterdown Wood and to get out of the wind for a while. Plenty of birds here with Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Bullfinch added to the list. Heading back towards the car along the gallops there were eight Skylarks in the air together Also in one of the adjoining fields were at least a dozen Hares. Most crouched low on the ground. Kestrel, Starling and Wren were the final birds seen, the final species total being a fairly respectable total of thirty.                                                On arriving home I looked on Birdguides and saw that a Woodchat Shrike was at Martin Down NR. Just thirty miles to the South and similar habitat! My thoughts hadn’t been that far off the mark after all.

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