Had The Good Lord not interviened, the title to this page would have been Hate Grey Shrike. In fact, the 150 or so minutes I stood motionless, on the south edge of Tutehill Moss, in the rain, then snow, then rain, then sleet, then rain and so on, oh, and the wind, gave me time to imagine the GGS landing where I was told it was yesterday, with numerous rodents to eat or store, and whilst having these pre-hypothermic dillusions, I tried to think up moderately humourous titles for yet another blog entry where I travelled and saw bot all!
And then The Big Man Upstairs took pity on this weather-beaten mortal below. A sound like no other in my modest experience - like a Jay squawking, but not as harsh nor loud. It drew my eyes and ears to the right, to the saplings on the east side of the Moss, where one taller tree was adorned by a white tip. And after drying the scope's lens, well feck me, a picture of Lanius excellence.
And after several short views, punctuated by trying to contact by phone Messrs McLevy/Bradley/Cowell who were watching from a point to the north, and too far away to see my twitch (oooo-errrr!), the Lord, having giveth, did take away, as an unladen log artic drove north and put the bird to flight.
In the remaining hour and a half before I left, KB had a glimpse in the shorter conifers to the north of the saplings, and AMc had the bird flying south from one set of tall conifers to another a little more south. Only AC left to see it, I hope he did so, the all of the Musketeers would get home cold, wet but very happy.