Don’t forget your binoculars for heathland walks to see rare birds

The Camberley News reports the sighting of a rare bird, the Great Grey Shrike, in the Poors Allotment near Camberley, by eagle-eyed Surrey Wildlife Trust Officer James Herd.

I’m a regular heathland walker, though not over at the Poors or Barrossa Common. For this morning’s heathland walk I’ve already put our pocket binoculars into my coat pocket. The RSPB say about it,

Where to see them: Great grey shrikes visit open areas, including heathland, farmland, scrub, clear-felled areas of forestry and coastal dunes. They need to have perches from which to hunt, so they often sit on fence posts and high up in trees.

When to see them: Great grey shrikes are regular but scarce visitors to the UK. They arrive, on the east coast at first, in autumn and many stay throughout winter and into spring (sometimes as late as April or May), when they migrate back to their breeding grounds in Scandinavia.

What they eat: Beetles and other insects, small mammals and birds. Food is often stored in a ‘larder’ by impaling it on a thorn.

Great Grey Shrike

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