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Sussex Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Green Man
Saturday 30th November 2013
Washington - Chanctonbury Ring - Cissbury Ring - No-man's Land - Chantonbury Ring - Washington.
10 miles

A version of a walk that we have done many times before, each time with a large amount of satisfaction thrown in. Today the area was relatively quiet of people perhaps due to the cold but it was also pretty quiet for birds with just a handful of species seen along the way. The handful however included a bird that we never expected to see here and which came as quite a surprise - A Great Grey Shrike spotted by Gill flitting from tree to tree in Chanctonbury Ring itself. We were mesmerised by it for 20 mins but had to tear ourselves away to continue our walk. Our discovery put a smile on our faces that lasted all day though!

Chanctonbury Hill and a beautiful place out of the cold wind to stop for a cuppa on the way up.

With brightening skies the light became very striking against the black clouds.

Chanctonbury Ring (
known as Chanklebury in Sussex dialect) and the light starts to get more striking.
This old place seems slightly different every visit and I've been visiting it for nearly 40 years now.

Just as I was taking this photo of this mysterious place, Gill said quietly, " Andy, there's a shrike in that tree".

There bloomin' well was too - A Great Grey Shrike - a magical bird in a magical place. Unfortunately I didn't get any good photos, just this ID shot.
Much better photos of this bird (taken the following day by P. Loader) can be seen here.

The scientific name of the Great Grey Shrike literally means "sentinel butcher": Lanius is the Latin term for a butcher, while excubitor is Latin for a watchman or sentinel. This refers to the birds' two most conspicuous behaviours storing prey by impaling them on thorns, and using exposed tree-tops or poles to watch the surrounding area for prey. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Grey_Shrike)


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