The first time I tried my hand on a Great Grey Shrike was also the last time. In early 2008, I spent many hours in a tenthide to photograph this wintering species. During all these hours, it landed exactly three times on the little spruce I had in mind. However: the first time, a car drove by and chased the Shrike. The second time, a man and dog walked by and chased the Shrike. The third time, a fierce windblow moved my tent and chased the Shrike.

There seemed to be a curse on the combination of the Shrike and the photographer.

You can imagine I was thrilled when a friend offered me the opportunity to go with him to a spot that was visited by a Shrike every single day at about the same time. So I joined him. After only 20 minutes, the Shrike appeared. My friend happily snapped away, but my camera only produced an error. By the time the camera had reset itself, the loud click that goes with that process scared the Shrike and I was left emptyhanded (or emptycarded) again. I was still in shock about the misfortune when the Shrike returned some 30 minutes later. This time, everything worked out fine and I got the shot I wanted. The Shrike even returned two more times in the next two hours.

With the story above in mind, you may understand that I did not trust my luck at all. Therefore I was very, very careful with the CF card and checked every setting three times before downloading the images to the computer. Well, here’s the result, another little piece of bad luck beaten. Thanks Jos!

Great Grey Shrike with Mouse; Canon 1D Mark III w. 500/4 IS; 1/320s at F5.6 and ISO250; Gitzo tripod from hide.