Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Rose-coloured Starling and Great Grey Shrike in Essex

20th October 2015

Two rare birds in nearby Essex were too much to resist and so I set off. The first stop was East Mersea Church, where a Rose-coloured Starling had been found on the 15th October by bird artist Richard Allen, and had been present since frequenting a garden by the church and a stubble field further along East Road.

We eventually found the correct garden thanks to phone directions from Andy Field and the bird duly appeared 30 minutes later. Unfortunately it was at the back of the garden and quite mobile and when it settled for the longest time it was semi-submerged in some shrubbery. Nevertheless, it was sufficient to get a few record shots of a not very rosy Rose-coloured Starling.

The starling disappeared and, quite frankly, I was unlikely to get any better shots so now off to Heybridge Basin to try for the Great Grey Shrike. Thanks to Jason Ward I had good directions and was soon on site where the bird was already on view.

The bird was quite flighty, but obviously had a few favourite perches, so it was just a matter of waiting until it had completed the circuit of its territory. It was feeding regularly and fly-catching what from the photos appear to be mainly wasps. He will definitely be my wife's friend.

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