MASKED SHRIKE

Masked Shrike at Kilnsea, Spurn

THE UK'S THIRD MASKED SHRIKE happily stayed long enough for Mark Varley and me to cross the Pennines again to Spurn. We spent a couple of hours trying to make the most of some very harsh reflected light on the bird, which was busily feeding on the third day of its stay. However, later in the afternoon it approached to within a few metres at times catching craneflies (you can see a cranefly leg still stuck to the feathers on its head!) on the edge of the grassy field in the lee of its favoured roadside hedge but always ‘against the light’. Long after the crowds had gone home, there were fewer than 10 people still here on a sunny afternoon, including artist Darren Woodhead, who did some really lovely watercolour field sketches of it. Thanks to the Friends of Spurn for organising a great viewing area and especially to Mark for doing the driving today! We even had time to enjoy a couple of Jack Snipe in front of the canal scrape hide as well as some great fish and chips in Patrington on the way home. A classic!