Thursday, 21 August 2014

Red-backed Shrike and an unexpected Hen Harrier at Winterton!

Another beautiful morning, so Linda, Martin & I headed out eastwards to look for Common Hawkers and Southern Emeralds at Winterton.

Halfway to the 'Toad Pools' we bumped into Norfolk birding legend Barry Jarvis: during a reciprocal 'what's about?' chat, Barry remarked that the long-staying male Red-backed Shrike was showing well beyond the blocks, so that was first stop (Although we did pause to admire a very confiding Muntjac and only my third Painted Lady of the year on the way!)

As promised, this delightful bird entertained us for half an hour, flying really close at times whilst chasing insects. Nearby, Whitethroats and Stonechats seemed to occupy all available perches, while a beautiful male Pied Flycatcher peeped (frustratingly!) from cover, calling insistently.

The Kidney pool held plenty of water and provided good views of Small Red-eyed and Emerald Damselflies, as well as several ovipositing Brown and Migrant Hawkers. We found one possible candidate for Southern Emerald: it has the required bi-coloured pterostigmata, but seemed a little 'chunky' to me... Similarly, a very probable Common Hawker flashed past us several times, but wouldn't settle for photos.

Most surprising bird was a ring-tailed Hen Harrier that drifted southwards along the coastal dune ridge!


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