Friday, 13 November 2009
In Search of the GREAT GREY SHRIKE at HUTTON ROOF
It was probably about 3 weeks ago that I was first alerted to the possibility of Great Grey Shrike/s possible arrivals on Hutton Roof, kindly by Pete Marsh, so I was on the ready. And now having read with great interest the most recent record which has been put on the Lancaster & District Birdwatching Club website stating that one had arrived... (Click over photo to enlarge)
So on Wednesday November 11th 2009, My wife Sandra and I set off from the old Dalton Quarry Car Park in search of the probably elusive "Great Grey Shrike". I had never previously seen a GGS in the UK but was familiar with them from previous observations in Europe and Asia..
At the Quarry Car Park I bumped into some old birding friends, Maurice Jones and Dr Frank Walsh, and there other two friends, although I had known Maurice for years, I had only heard of Dr. Frank for years because of his great vismig contributions for "Fairhaven Lake", we had never met previous and it was great to make introductions... and they had also come to try and find the GGS, following on from a early trip that day to Sizergh Castle in search of the Hawfinches...
We said our farewells and got on with the job in hand and followed the main footpath over Dalton Crags to the "Trig point" and then East and then North through the Hutton Roof Crags and down to Uberash Plain and then crossing over the limestone pavements of Uberash Breast and back to the trig and a retrack to the Car Park. In the way of birds, we had so little to report. A few Meadow Pipits, a solitary Raven, and a couple of Mistle Thrushes.... (Click over photo to enlarge)
We checked out everywhere! we even saw a couple more birders (from the Fylde) whilst we where nearby the trig point, but they too had not been fortunate to see the GGS. Not to worry its not far away, I would come again in another day or two....
A new blog had been put on the Lancaster site stating that someone had seen it approx 300 metres to the North of the Trig point (seen yesterday November 12th 2009), so I decided to come again today Friday November 13th 2009 to hopefully catch sight of that Great Grey Shrike. And so again setting off from the Old Dalton Quarry and joining up with yet another birder from Blackburn we made our way straight up to the Trig point, here we met up with yet another birder who hailed from Chorley and then by a stroke of luck we bumped into a birding couple whom had just previously seen the bird in that locality. We searched what seemed to be everywhere, but no the GGS was being very elusive. After a while is was decided to retreat and we made our way back down, resigning to the fact that we would have to check it out yet another day. (Click over photo to enlarge)
After leaving the "Trig Point" and coming back through the wooden style set within the stone boundary wall (see photo above) we entered the wide winding path which lead through the more open space area which had rotting timber piles every now and again, and there is odd young trees spaced out here and there. Suddenly whilst probably about 200 yards, before leaving this open area, it was spotted pretty close up sitting on the uppermost of the tree to our left. It obviously was agitated by our presence and decided to fly across us to the other side of us and probably some 50 yards away, it stayed here for maybe 5 minutes before leaving and heading further North East in the direction towards the boundary wall.