Thurlestone marsh was devoid of birds due to disturbance from diggers dredging the drainage channel running through the golf course and dumping the mud on the marsh. South Huish Marsh did however have some birds on view - a grey heron, a little egret, a buzzard, a male kestrel, a black tailed godwit, a snipe, teal, mallard and a moorhen.
Also seen along the walk were 17 swallows heading inland and flying east, a lone gannet offshore over a flat clam sea, a small copper, a small tortoiseshell, red admirals, large whites, stonechats and a few common darters including a mating pair.
The following day at South Huish a shrike was found by a birder, initially ID'd as a red backed shrike it soon became apparent from photos it was in fact an isabelline shrike and this was confirmed on the 14th, just as I began a 4 day stretch at work! I also wondered if it had been around on the 12th when we were out walking around the area.
Anyway my day off on Sunday18th duly arrived and we headed off again to Thurlestone for a walk and a look for the shrike which had been showing up to the 17th. We parked in Thurlestone village again and walking down past the church a few goldcrest and a chiffchaff were flitting about in the trees but there was no sign of anything rarer.
A surprise was seeing Thurlestone Marsh drained and the reeds being cut down - apparently the farmer who owns the marsh is draining it to make grazing land for cows, such a shame.
There were quite a few birders around in the area and so I headed off straight away to The White House overlooking South Huish marsh as per the DBWPS and Birdguides instructions to find 2 birders photographing a bird high up in the roadside hedge - and there it was, the isabelline shrike and my 3rd British lifer of the year. I even managed to get a few (poor) photos too.
There is quite a bit of debate going on about its exact ID as well with the view being it is a Daurian shrike but I'm quite happy to call it an isabelline and let others debate the genetics and taxonomics. A very nice bird but a little ugly around the bill as shrikes invariably are.
Caterpillar sp. found on the road near the shrike hedge