A bit of foreground gorse bush in the way on this one but I like the position he has his legs in,
looks most uncomfortable!
After this delightful encounter with the Dartford Warbler I walked on to have a look in an area where I've been lucky enough to see the Great Grey Shrike in a particular tree on a couple of previous occasions. At first I couldn't see it and my attention was taken away momentarily when I spotted the small herd of ponies which graze on the common. I hadn't seen them around for a while and whilst I was was standing there admiring them I glanced back at the tree in question and there it was, the shrike! It hadn't been there just a moment before... it really is very mercurial. Fortunately it didn't seem at all bothered by my presence even though I was nearer to it than I've been on previous occasions. I think because I was in amongst the group of ponies it just saw me as one of them. I got some nice shots of it but the strong light/low morning sun caused a few blown highlights as I was taken a bit by surprise and didn't have time to alter my camera settings. Still I'm pretty happy with them.
It soon flew off to a much more distant tree where it stayed for a long while. I watched as first a Chaffinch and then a Meadow Pipit tried to mob it. When it moved trees again the Meadow Pipit shrewdly followed it and sat in an adjacent tree. I fancied it was thinking along the lines of "The closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm." as said by Pippin in The Lord of the Rings.
A more typical view of the bird.
It stayed in this tree for a good twenty minutes.
Amazingly a few minutes later I stumbled upon it again sitting in a tree on the edge of one of the main tracks and again I got reasonably close to it, not as close as when I had ponies for cover! The light was a lot better though.
It then flew low into some gorse where I'm pretty sure it caught something, before flying out again and into thick cover. It was too quick for me to see what it was though... I'm betting it wasn't that canny Meadow Pipit... and I'm hoping it wasn't a Dartford Warbler.