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A new era dawns

A new era dawns. Today marked my first visit to Goldcliff Lagoons since the sad death of  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. She was a great and very respected monarch throughout the world.  Her passing marked the end of the modern Elizabethan era and the dawn of a new one. King Charles III has now ascended to the throne - "God save the King". The new era will be called the Carolean age under King Charles III. I thought his first speech was very touching and I believe he will be a great King like his mother. We also now have a new Prince of Wales with Prince William taking on his father's previous titles.  Every time I now take picture of the second Severn crossing - namely the Prince of Wales bridge there will be a different face that now pops up in my head. The Prince of Wales Bridge I've had a very stressful and busy week myself and I was in real need of some bird therapy today for a few hours to take my mind off things. A visit to Goldcliff Lagoons alway

A Shrike to to the Woods

I recently watched the great TV Show BBC Winterwatch. I must admit its one of the most inspiring shows I watch on the telly. I just want to go out with the camera and look for something new to photograph.

This years Winterwatch saw Chris Packham and Michaela Strachan visit the Forest of Dean , where they sat on Crab Tree Hill for hours waiting to glimpse a rare winter visitor - the Great Grey Shrike.

This fired up some enthusiasm in me and my friend Paul Joy to get out and see if we could get a photograph of this enigmatic bird.

We ventured out on Sunday and made our way up to Crab Tree Hill from  the car park that is down the road from the Speech House.

After a cold steady walk we got to Crab Tree Hill. Its an exposed moorland hill ,  that is surrounded by a woodland. The wind was bitingly cold, but fortunately the sun came out to thaw us out a little.

We waited for about an hour and a half and then the Shrike made an appearance. With a shout from Paul who spotted it we tried to get a decent photograph. The Shrike likes to perch at the very top of small trees so its got a good vantage point to swoop down and catch its prey - small rodents, lizards and insects.

On seeing it for the first time the Grey looked almost a pale blue and I was struck by how impressive it looked. 

We managed to get some great photos from a respectful  distance. Not too close as it would fly off to another perch - frustratingly so at times.

Really pleased that Mother Nature blessed us with some good luck today, seeing the Great Grey Shrike is my first 2018 lifer and what a great way to start a new year of birding firsts.


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