We leave Artenara and drive to Acusa Seca. My son’s booked a cave house for us for the night. It’s a house. In a cave. This is the scene which greets us as we arrive:
It’s changing rapidly.
Across the valley is the same peak we could see from Artenara, but this is the other side of it. It’s Roque Bentayga.
I need to walk up to the car along a track. Naturally I take my camera with telephoto lens. It’s then that I see a Grey Shrike. It looks just like the Great Grey Shrike I saw on Dartmoor:
Except on Dartmoor it wasn’t on a Prickly Pear.
It’s an incredibly exciting bird to find just as we’ve arrived.
I use all the field skills I learned with the Dartmoor one and get as close as I can without disturbing it.
Oh Wow! Look at the beak! That’s what I call a hooked beak. Shrikes are often referred to as Butcher Birds from their habit of keeping a larder of dead prey items impaled on spikes.
It looks just like a Great Grey Shrike. I check. It’s a Southern Grey Shrike. No it isn’t it’s a race of the African Desert Shrike. No it isn’t…
Until someone can tell me they’ve done the DNA and identified the exact origin of these Grey Shrikes, this one’s going to remain just a Grey Shrike, no matter how great it is.
It flies and I turn to find the sun is setting with a line of blood red across the rocks. What a stunning end to the day.
I’m beginning to like it here. It’s time to go back to the cave.