I was initially shocked by how few people seemed to be around, only dog walkers, since the bird is quite something. I made my way to the hide since that was where it had been reported from, and in the hide there were a couple of other birders which was comforting. They said it had not been seen, but did say that it had been reported as quite a wandering bird, once reported flying across the reser.
I spent a couple of hours in the hide with no joy, but I did see some lovely stuff, including a Snipe Preening, Teal on the pond, Reed buntings in full plumage and Willow warbler, my first of the year, finally bringing me to my 100 for the year. There were plenty of Willow Warblers calling too, around the woodlands near the hide, which made for an unusual atmosphere with the grey skies and all.
Birders came and went, guys coming back from exploring away from the hide said they could not see it, and it continued to not show from the hide. Shout out to Dave P from Queensbury, nice to see a local face away from home, even though its not that far.
Eventually I decided to leave the hide, after 2 hours, and have a wander round myself. I was unable to track down the shrike on my short walk, but did find a lovely flock of Lesser Redpoll, which were feeding in one of the wooded areas. They gave very good views and I was able to approach them readily without them flying away
-Lesser RedpollAfter that I headed back to the hide for a bit. No joy but a Common Buzzard did fly over at one point. Given it was just a silhouette at first I had wondered if it were an osprey, however when it came into the light it was pretty clear as to its identity.
After an additional hour of waiting I decided to call it quits. The weather was worsening and I needed to be getting back for a haircut. So that is how to dip a Great Grey Shrike. Fortunately, it was not reported all day, so it was not a case of me missing it.
But I did finally reach my 100 for the year, and I got to see some great species. So all that's left to do is to give a full breakdown of all the species seen today...
Species List: Grey Heron, Starling, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Great Tit, Robin, Wren, Mallard, Common Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Cormorant, Long-Tailed Tit, Moorhen, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipit, Jay, Common Teal, Reed Bunting, Common Snipe, Lesser Redpoll, Jackdaw, Willow Warbler