bird behaviour, Sketchbook

Birding in Somerset

A few days in Somerset have yielded some excellent sightings. Yesterday morning a trip to Shapwick Heath found me in a frosty landscape well before dawn. Cetti’s Warblers seemed to be calling every fifty yards or so, a bird still very uncommon in North Yorkshire. A huge flock of starlings drifted west on their way out from their roost, their wings making a soft breeze sound as the flock passed above me. As I approached the dead trees at the back of Noah’s Lake a Great Grey Shrike popped up onto a branch briefly, then almost immediately dropped out of view. This frustrating view became more so as fog descended- I couldn’t even see the trees for about quarter of an hour. As the sun rose higher and evaporated the mist the trees were visible again, but the shrike was not. I decided to head back down to the West end of the Roughet area. By now the mist had cleared and I quickly found a shining white bird in the top of a birch tree. I made some sketches of this immaculate looking bird with its feathers puffed up in the frosty weather. They are lovely birds to sketch with pristine plumage and bold markings. For a while four Redpolls ‘danced’ around the shrike on undulating stalling flight, the shrike literally snapped its beak with hunger as it watched these tempting little ‘snacks’!

Great Grey Shrike- watercolour in sketchbook
Great Grey Shrike- pencil in sketchbook

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