Today, I caught up with my sometime partner in crime and curmudgeon of legend Tony S. We decided to pop over to Hopwood to see the long staying Great Grey Shrike that has been wintering there. Hopwood is situated near Southwest Birmingham and lies just within the Worcestershire county boundary.
On arrival, we parked in the layby and headed over to the gate that it is recommended to view over the field from. It's not a location I had been to before but I can see why a Shrike has turned up there as the mixture of rank grassland and scrub looked ideal. The bird wasn't initially visible but we set up our scopes and started scanning. Within a few minutes I had picked up the Great Grey Shrike perched up in one of the Oak trees a fair distance away. It was quite a blowy day and the bird was just content to sit up there the whole time we were there. So on this visit we never really got any exceptional or closer views...ah well, that's birding.
Great Grey Shrike
(photo from my archives)
From Hopwood we stopped off briefly at the nearby Lower Bittell Reservoir to see if there was anything of note. Both Tony & I were both amazed at just how quiet it was there with the only birds of note being 2♀ Goosander, 3 Pochard, 16 Teal and a handful of Tufted Duck.
From Bittell we popped across to the woodland at Twatling Road (great name!) in the Lickey Hills to see if we could see the flock of Brambling that has been feeding on the Beech mast there. After a short walk we picked up c.30 Brambling perched up in the trees. They remained for a fair while before taking off and heading to another part of the wood, allowing me to at least get a few record shots off.
Our final stop off of the day was Tony's Café where tea & toast made for a fine lunch, bringing an end to a decent day's wanderings.
Brambling - 21st Feb 2014