Monday 8 April 2024


March came and went in a soggy flash, and April is threatening to do the same. Birding time has been difficult to wangle. At the very end of the month I have a couple of nights booked at Portland Bird Observatory, and cannot wait. Meanwhile I shall scrape what I can get. And on Saturday afternoon there was finally a little window, through which I jumped quite eagerly.

Earlier that morning, Mike Morse posted news of a Woodchat Shrike at West Bex. By late afternoon it had moved west to Cogden. I really didn't think I was going to find time to visit, but somehow did. And boy, was I glad...

Gorgeous! Woodchat Shrike.

At one point it came close enough to get a few proper frame-fillers - like the one above - but mostly it was further away. The resultant photos reflect that, with a lot more habitat in shot. Much as I like to see rictal bristles in my birdy pics, my favourite photos are always those which show the bird in its environment; they seem so much better at conveying that feeling of what it was like to be there...

It was finding plenty to eat. Here with a hefty bee.

Same bee, demolition underway.

What a bee sees, moments before death.

Probably my favourite shot...or maybe that first back-on photo above. Hard to choose.

So yes, this post has just been an excuse to give my choicest Woodchat photos an airing. A lovely bird, and worth every minute I spent with it. Most of which, by the way, were on my own. En route to the bird's location I passed two birders heading back from watching it, and on arrival there were four more. But they too were soon gone, so most of my half-hour there was blissful solitude. I've no idea how many came and went earlier in the day, but I'll bet it wasn't many. If this bird had been in North Norfolk...

West Dorset is such a quiet place to go birding. And so rewarding.


  1. A cracking bird Gav excellent pictures too.

  2. Fantastic photos Gav, the pics face on and the one impaling show its massive bull terrier head! Lovely...

  3. Thanks Dave and Stewart. 👍
    Very pleased I made time for it. Terrific bird. 😊