Monday, 8 February 2016

Looking Back; Dawlish Warren 26/5/02

My second looking back post and it's the second one from Dawlish Warren. I remember this day so vividly as I should have been revising for my Geography GCSE exam the following morning! Mum wasn't best pleased when Phil Abbott phoned with news that an adult Lesser Grey Shrike was at Dawlish Warren, and that he was leaving now and asked if I wanted to come.  Thankfully I managed to do some serious negotiating and Dad, myself and my Geography revision books were in Phil's car ten minutes later...

To carry on this post I am just going to copy what I as a sixteen year old wrote in my diary, word for word;

"A.M. Phil took us to Dawlish Warren where were saw a Lesser Grey Shrike. Had superb views of an ad (prob male) at Warren Point. An absolute cracking bird and it gave cracking views sat on top and on the side of small bushes. Watched it at different distances on many different bushes, it stayed up on the bushes for long periods of time but did occasionally go on to the ground presumably to feed. A brilliant little bird being just a bit bigger than a near by Dunnock. Like Great Grey Shrike but more black on forehead and no white, clearer white-wing patches which were very obvious, and a lovely pink tinge to its breast. Also obviously smaller than a Great Grey and seemed to sit up straighter than Great Grey. In flight striking white outer tail feathers and again very obvious wing flashes. It was a very sweet bird, a brilliant bird, brilliant rarity, absolutely brilliant views and a good Devon bird. Between exams too! Truly sensational, one of my favs. Seen 4 shrike species now, commoner ones in 1999 and Woodchat and now this in 2002. Amazing!  Also saw: Reed Bunting (male), Skylark (loads) and Whitethroat (2). We didn't hang about. Park - Shrike for an hour - back to the car!"

To brighten up this post a bit here's a pic of the star bird, taken by my mate Jez whose name will pop up from time to time on these looking back posts - he twitched it later that day...

Lesser Grey Shrike (c) Jeremy McClements

Oh and by the way I managed a B in GCSE Geography, which is hard solid evidence that birding actually helps with revision! Take note any young birders reading this, birding is good for you whatever the circumstances.

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