News broke last Saturday of a Masked Shrike at Spurn-first I realised was when I got a tweet from Jay saying he was almost there. I was out with Sarah for the day at the RHS Hyde Hall gardens at the time. No chance for me to get up there, Colin is still pretty much out of action and its a bit much for me on my own. Not too sure about the car either, even though it's been repaired I still think there is something not quite right with it.
The Shrike is still there this weekend. I missed the Fife bird thanks to flu, but it stayed nearly three weeks so maybe we will get a chance next week.
Lots of migrants were strung along the east coast last weekend as well, but things have gradually quietened down and there is not much happening now. Decided to go down to Amwell yesterday which seemed like a mistake as there was no-one else there when I arrived, apart from Barry doing his regular circuit.
Did not see a great deal from the viewpoint and I went down to check the gulls at the south end, though the visibility through the hedge made it rather difficult. Heard a few Skylarks going through, and Meadow Pipits were frequently heading down the valley.
Back at the viewpoint Dave from Stevenage had arrived and Phil turned up soon after. He picked up a very late Sedge Warbler in the mint by the waters edge. A long way off and it stayed very low and hidden. The female type Stonechat that has been present a while now eventually appeared, posing distantly on the reeds and sallows, and a bit later a male also appeared. We have not had any wintering since 2011 so it would be nice if they stayed.
Still good numbers of Swallows moving south, with the occasional House Martin among them. Every now and then I was hearing Ring Necked Parakeets, and they were eventually seen on the far side, frequenting the Horse Chestnuts the other side of the road. Barry eventually arrived having counted about 15 and there is a good possibility that they have found a few holes there to nest.
Something like 8 Buzzards were in the air above the wood, along with 2-3 Red Kites. There were also a few Mistle Thrushes above the woods, and a big surprise was a lone Redwing that flew over us.
All in all a pretty good morning.