Sunday, 28 March 2010

Insurance Shrike

After failing to secure a self-found Great Grey Shrike yesterday, I decided to take some insurance this morning and hike into Harwood for the one found by Nigel Foggo on Tuesday. In the same general area as I got some good Crossbill images last year, I knew it was a good 30-40 minutes in and it had been described on Friday as 'elusive'. So another early pre-six am start found me yomping up the forest tracks being serenaded by my first Chiffchaff of 2010 and several pairs of Crossbill as well as the obligatory Siskin and Coal Tit.
Whilst the Crossbill were vocal and plentiful they were never accessible preferring to stay in the highest confiers feeding and calling.

If you were a Sparrowhawk/Goshawk you would just love male Crossbills wouldnt you?

Reaching the area the Shrike was supposed to be in I found a snall tree next to the track, parked myself and started to scan the clearfell. Thirty seconds later, bingo, Great Grey Shrike, I spent an hour at two different vantages, but it wasn't particularly active and never came anywhere near close. I was downwind and it did call a couple of times, 'trrrrrh trrrrh' the occasional tail flicking, but never made any hunting forages or caught anything in the time I was there.

Calling in Image 1, distant in both.

One or two of the Siskin were more confiding than the Crossbill, dropping into smaller bare branched deciduous treess occasionally. After I walked out I headed for the Gibbet, the parking layby was full of strange looking blokes sitting in the car, as I passed a pair of Crossbill dropped onto the gibbet, the male drinking (?) from the gibbet stone. It was only after turning did I realise that the strange looking blokes were in fact the full author team of 'Birds New to Britain 1980-2004' I spent a few minutes catching up with TC/AP as a procession of Common Buzzard tried and failed to turn into anything more interesting but after two mornings of almost total solitude a little crack was worth its weight.
Siskin, Harwood Forest, Northumberland


Tim Sexton said...

'Elusive', you're not kidding. It took me best part of 3 hours to finally pick it out. I was convinced I must be in the wrong place, again. My cries of joy would have been audible in Pegswood :)

James said...

Glad you had better luck than I did at Langdale.

abbey meadows said...

Pleased you caught up with it Alan (and Tim)