An interesting Great Grey Shrike, Sutton, Suffolk, 27 November 2016

Having seen photographs of the Great Grey Shrike of the last few days from Sutton Belinda and I headed that way today. I was particularly keen to see this bird as it looks very good indeed for a 'homeyeri' bird. It was present on arrival luckily but although scope views were good it was too distant for me to get my camera out. Even in flight at distance the amount of white in the tail and secondaries was quite striking.

After a brief chat with Peter Ransome and Bruce Root we then struck out on what turned out to be an 11.5 mile walk taking in Sutton Heath, Upper Hollesley Common, Rendlesham Forest and Shottisham. Along the way the only birds of much note were good numbers of Siskins (at least 100), a flock of c60 Chaffinches, a plethora of Coal Tits (including 6 together), a single fly-over Redpoll sp, Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker and 2 Common Buzzards. Not exactly mind-blowing stuff but the exercise was just what we needed after both shaking off shitty fluey colds!

Photographs (not mine, courtesy of Sean Nixon!), showing the extent of white in the secondaries and tail of the Sutton Great Grey Shrike. The tail feathers in particular point towards 'homeyeri' with the outer 2 completely white and even the 3rd only having black along half it's length.  Most educational!

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