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I have been digiscoping for around 18 years now and through persistence and good equipment I am getting great results. I use a Swarovski 80hd spotting scope and a Sony RX100 camera which has just replaced my old faithful Nikon P5100. The majority of my bird watching takes place in County Durham in England which has a variety of different habitats from coast to moors. Digiscoping is great because it allows me to get good photos without disturbing birds. VIEW THE LATEST PHOTOBOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE

Friday, 7 October 2016

Desert Grey Shrike - Gran Canaria

Its been a while since I have posted, or been out birding come to mention it, but recently I have been to Gran Canaria where I had the opportunity to watch and study a number of Desert Grey Shrikes over the fortnight I was there.
The first morning I went to where I had located some shrikes in previous years, but I couldnt see any, but it was just before dawn so perhaps they would appear a bit later.
I stood still and just listened and tuned in to the surroundings, some parrots were calling in the distance, a heron squawked over the lagoon and some and some goldfinches were singing in the tops of some trees.  I noticed a beetle 2 yards away heading for some shade, then I head a rasping call - just two short srrrrrrrrrps less than a second each. It came from not quite directly behind me. I knew immediately it was a Shrike.
I turned round and scanned the bushes.
About 200 yards away I could see a Desert Grey Shrike on top of a bush.  Wow I impressed myself that I heard that, and then located it. Now was the challenge to get close enough to get some photos, if I could get close and let it get used to me, I knew that they can get really confiding and trusting.
The sun was appearing in the East and the shrike was between me and the dawn sun.
To get good photos I would need to get on the other side of it.
So I planned my route, over two mid sized ridges of dunes and around some bushes to take me to the other side of the bird they up a smaller dune where it sat on the top some bushes.
About 15 minutes later I was on the sunny side of the bird. It was singing, a real nice song too and quite complex.
I got to within about 20 yards and took some photos, but it was quite high up still - too high to get real good photos.
Then a couple of Serin landed in the same bush, are they mad, they were just the right size for the shrike.
The shrike was nonchalant for a short while, then suddenly it dived down, I didn't see if it actually caught a serin but it disappeared into the bush for about 10 minutes, so I guess it did.
It eventually flew out of the bush across a dune and perched in a lower bush - much better to get some shots.
So off I trundled, down a dune, across some flat deep sand and got behind a bush that was about 15 yards away from the shrike. It was calling again, its two note call.
Having got some shots, I then stood in the open, deliberately not looking directly at the shrike, I stood for a few minutes, let it get used to me, and then I could see that it started to preen itself.
When it put its head down into its feathers I took two steps closer, A couple of more shots and repeated it again. Now about 10 yards away. I took quite a few shots of it in different poses and a short video of it calling.
Then I called it a day. I backed away and left it alone. I had two weeks so I had time on my side and there is no point in making it wary of me.

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Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire