Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Tuesday 19th. November 2013

I felt lucky this morning as I walked out on the frost covered boardwalk at Thursley Common . The sky was blue and the sun was out , now all that was needed was for the Great Grey Shrike that had been showing well on site , to put in an appearance . By the time I reached the 'Pine island' , the only
birds that I had seen or heard were a couple of Meadow Pipits , and by the time I reached 'Shrike hill' , I had only added a single Carrion Crow to the list . There followed three and a half hours criss crossing the area and it's surrounds hoping for a flash of grey , but it was not to be . Other birders arrived , but they too were disappointed . A single Blackbird , a couple of Linnets and a pair of
Stonechats , even they turned their backs on me , was all that was found during my visit . My return to the car park via Moat Pond , found just a Grey Heron and a Little Egret , both still warming up in
the sunshine , and from the few cars in the car park , most of the birders had given up well before I did . So a 'Plan B' was needed to try and salvage something from the day . I headed back up the A3 , almost to the junction with the M25 , in search of a 'Northern visitor' that I had read had settled on a sailing club lake in the area . Fortunately I had passed the lake several times a couple of years ago whilst hedgelaying . I found an entrance onto the path around a vast expanse of water , and started looking for the 'Northern visitor' , the sun's reflection on the water making things very difficult . After a while , I was joined by four birders from the Wimbledon area who thought they had seen the bird briefly from the other side of the lake , with the sun behind them . Five pairs of eyes scoured the
water , and eventually we had a first sighting of the juvenile Great Northern Diver , but with the sun behind the bird and at distance , it was almost in silhouette , and soon after it started to feed , diving for up to 2 minutes at a time and surfacing sometimes 50 metres away from it's diving position , which made following it very difficult . At one point it appeared right over the other side of the lake where the four had first spotted it , but , by the time we got round to the spot , the bird was next seen back where we had just been . It also seemed to have the ability to disappear completely for 10-15
minutes at a time . This was the nearest I managed to get for a shot , and within seconds it was off again . The four birders left to try for the GGShrike at Thursley , I hope they had better luck than I did . With the temperature dropping I called it a day , having covered quite some distance backwards and forwards around the lake . I did see the bird surface way down the lake with a good sized fish , so it's no wonder it's staying . The last shot I took was the GND just about to slip under again , I wonder
where it came up ? So 'Plan B' came up with the goods , shame about 'Plan A' .


Warren Baker said...

A 50% strike rate Greenie, not too bad :-)

Great way to spend an afternoon though, chasing a GND about !

Alan Pavey said...

Great Northern Diver is a good bird Greenie, at least the Great Grey Shrike should hang around :-)

alan woodcock said...

Hi,pleased you saved the day with a good bird and nice photo`s.

Ken. said...

Pity you missed out on the G/G/Shrike, still plan B was a very good idea. Considering the conditions you did well not only seeing the G/N/D but managing to get a few shots of it.