Short Distance Twitch

I was in the mood for a ride out on the bike and with the Red-backed Shrike still at Greenham Common decided to combine the two. I made my way to Newbury via the back roads and on arrival at Greenham Common spoke to a couple of birders who confirmed that the Shrike was still showing. So it was a quick change out of my bike gear and a brisk walk over to the fire plane which is the area the Shrike was frequenting. Good views of a Green Woodpecker on the way over. I could see a small group of people obviously looking at the bird and soon found it, prominently perched atop a large bush. I joined the others and spent a few minutes watching the Shrike. It made a couple of sorties from its perch and then returned. I moved around a bit to try for a couple of pictures which came out okay considering I wasn’t that close, unlike the Salisbury Plain bird of last year . The bird then became more mobile, finally settling low down in another bush and much harder to see. I decided to head off to see what else I could find. As usual there were plenty of Linnets around, another couple of Green Woodpeckers were seen and at least eight Stonechats which unusually were chasing each other around. Usually you only see them perched. While I was watching the Stonechats I noticed a gird moving about in the Gorse. I finally got a good look at it to find it was a Dartford Warbler. Every bit as good as the Shrike. With time getting on I headed back to the bike, quite happy to have had two year ticks.

On the way home I stopped off at Chilton Foliat and Froxfield. Just the usual birds at Chilton Foliat , also about a dozen trout feeding by the wooden

footbridge. At Froxfield, along with a few Canada Geese and Mallards were a Little Egret and a Green Sandpiper. On my way home from here I added Buzzard and Red Kite to the day list.

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