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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

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Desert Grey Shrike

After viewing the Shrike on a number of days, it was the last day that was the most memorable.
Again I was out before sunrise and got to the dunes area just as the sun was rising above the horizon.
At first I couldn't see the bird, but after about 10 minutes I could hear it faintly in the distance, but it was still out of view.  I walked towards the sound.

Then, in the distance, on top of a bush, on top of a dune I could see the Desert Grey Shrike silhouetted against the dawn sky.  It was still over 200 yards away.
I got closer to it and noticed that between its calls, the bird was singing, and it was a little flighty - previous mornings it had been quite approachable, then I noticed that it was a bit darker than the bird I had seen earlier in the holiday.
This was a different bird, it had no supercillium.
It then started fluttering on its perch and calling constantly, was this a warning to me, or some other behaviour. I had never seen this before.
I sat down and watched from 20 yards away. It flew to another bush and did the same, then came back..  Suddenly I heard another Shrike call from about 100 yards away, - was it courting behaviour?
The Shrikes then both flew to the same bush about 30 yards away.  They dropped down onto the ground in the bush.
I walked closer, and watched, I could see them chasing each other at the bottom of the bush, like rodents, running through gaps in the thorns.
Eventually one came out again and perched on top of the bush, and started fluttering and calling, the other bird joined it but watching the other bird keenly.
They dropped to the ground again and started chasing each other.
Then back on top of the bush, one bird arched its back and pointed its beak towards the sky, the other bird had its head down low almost on the tail of the other bird
This was fascinating,
Eventually both birds dropped out of sight in the bush again and I believe they mated, although I didn't see it happen.
Then one bird flew to another bush about 50 yards away and the other quickly followed.  While I watched them one bird found a beetle or insect of some kind and took it back to its mate and offered the food to the other bird which took it.
They then repeated the behaviour again.  I heard another Shrike behind, but that one stayed out of sight.
I spent a good 90 minutes observing the behaviour of these stunning birds - my favourite of all species.

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Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs

Digiscoping Blog By Colin Severs
Barn Owl in North Yorkshire