Monday, 9 March 2015

Great Grey Shrike re-appears on Hutton Roof etc



Click over sketch to enlarge

Saturday 28th March 2015 - 0845hrs to          Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof

What will we see today?  report back soon......

Friday 27th March 2015 - 0915 - 1030hrs - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof.

Both Shrikes present at the same time.  The original Shrike was about 100 NW of the Trig Point and the more recent bird was 150 yards SSE of the Trig Point.  It does look like the birds are keeping their separate territories with the more recent bird remaining to the East/South whereby the established bird has always frequented the more W/NW of the Trig Point, although they do come together in the same tree occasionally and I have seen one bird dive bomb the other and then brush off and fly away.  Also this time I have heard the "Shrike chunnering or is it chummering - well whichever that is what's it was doing"  on at least two separate occasions.  Pair of Stonechats seen towards the top of Dalton deforested.  Had 3 Meadow Pipits go directly through and had another 15 blogging within Dalton deforested.  Three or Four Green Woodpecker yaffles. 

I have just remembered:  Going back to Tuesday March 17th 2015 (St Patricks Day), I did have a early "Brimstone" Butterfly on the Railway Embankment at Arnside. 

Wednesday 25th March 2015 - 1000hrs -  1200hrs Park Wood area of Hutton Roof

Checking out Daphne Mezereone with Ian and friends. 6 of the plants were fine, two in particular showed heavy bloom eg: 200 flowers and 300 flowers.  Sadly two of the long established had died off. 

Tuesday 24th March 2015 - 0830hrs to 1000hrs. Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof. 

Had both Shrikes in view for over fives minutes with one at 15 yards to 30 yards to 100 yards to the NW of the Trig Point whilst the other bird was about 75 yards to the East of the Trig and that one made off after a few minutes and out of view down the line of the Blackthorn on the Hutton Roof Timber line. 


The reason the first bird came within 15 yards was purely by chance while it surprised me and I it, yet it still remained still, like I also remained motionless, whilst it let me have those close up views for over 3 minutes or so, just a shame as I never had my camera - sods law!. 


Now then after watching both birds it is without doubt clear that the second bird which joined us last Wednesday is of a darker phase than the bird that has over wintered which makes it fairly easy to tell the birds apart even with binoculars. So whether this new bird is a female or juvenile I would not know! but it certainly looks promising for now! 


Also had Stonechats on the Common, also had about 14 Meadow Pipits flyover N and 1 Skylark NW, and also a large 30 Mipit blogging party down in Dalton. Lots of Green Woodpecker yaffling going on.




Monday 23rd March 2015 - Eaves Wood, Silverdale  1000hrs to 1230hrs

Been out with my mate Brian from Kendal and we joined a group of friends checking out the Daphne Mezereone at both Eaves Wood and again later at Sandside.  The long established plants at both sites were doing OK.  Sadly the re-established plants all had died and could not be found at the relevant sites. It was really interesting to see the "white" flowered plants of Sandside. 

1700hrs to 1830hrs - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 

Went up with Rob checking out the Shrike.  At first no signs so I suggested we check out "Uberash Roughs" and sure enough we found one of them sat low and not far away from the two large Cairns.  Although a fair distance away we were treated to actually hear him singing in his chattering mode. Could not locate the second one. Also had a single party of 7 Meadow Pipits on their way through North to their upland breeding grounds. 


Sunday 22nd March 2015 - Dalton and Hutton Roof and Lancelot Clark Storth 0900hrs to 1100hrs
Excellent views of one of the Shrikes.  I think I had the other one which just brushed past the other one and made its way down into Lancelot somewhere. A couple of Wheatear on way up through Dalton along with the regular pairs of Stonechats. Only had six Meadow Pipits going through over the hour or so. Good views of a Green Woodpecker and lots of evidence of yaffling. More reports coming through of both birds seen between 1100 and 1300hrs. 

Saturday 21st March 2015 - Sizergh Castle 0700 to 1000hrs
Went along to Sizergh at the invitation of Rob because we are doing a small project, but sadly no Hawfinches came down, however I could hear them early doors.  No problem will check out again soon.

Of special interest whilst there was that I saw a gentlemen birder from Ulverston, who I know I can rely on and he now confirms that without doubt he has had two separate Great Grey Shrikes on Hutton Roof on Wednesday last (18th March 2015).  One was seen 100 yards NW of the Trig and the other was seen at the same time as the other but from the Blackthorn on the Hutton Roof Sawmills line which lies about 100 yards SE of the Trig.  So this makes things really interesting. 

1300hrs to 1430hrs - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof.  I had single Shrike at 1400hrs in Dalton Crags 100 yards South/South West of Trig Point.  Speaking with lady who came from Teesdale and she was priviledged to see both Shrikes in same tree and managed to get a photo of them.  Also she had a Swallow hawking the Common. 

As the day went along I have received another two reports of people seeing two separate Shrikes.




Friday 20th March 2015 (Vernal Equinox) - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900hrs - 1030hrs.


A funny sort of start with a eclipse of the sun.  But we did not have any sun, well what I should say is that we did just have little bits bobbing through at about the 0900hrs mark, but by 0930hrs the sun had completely disappeared and the skies clouded over.  But at around the 0930hrs and lasting for some 0945hrs a sort of "strange" darker appearance throughout, obviously on account of the eclipse.  But the birds kept on singing throughout it all, in fact it made no difference whatsoever to the vibrant Song Thrush!!

I think we have a new Stonechat!, I thought so yesterday, but not sure so I did not report it but it has again turned up at the bottom of Dalton deforested whilst the resident pair are at the moment just inside the boundaries of the Common.

The Great Grey Shrike was there in his usual territorial pose at the uppermost of one of the larger trees to a point approx 150 yards North West of the Trig Point.

Only had six Mipits going through in two parties of three going over the Crags during the time I was there.

Got to get up early doors tomorrow been invited to check out the Hawfinches at Sizergh by friend Rob.. so will hopefully try and get back to check out Hutton Roof later in the morning. 





Thursday 19th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900-1100hrs

Probably the best day yet weatherwise with lovely sunshine and little to no wind at times. 
The Great Grey Shrike was well up for it today showing off for most of the time to the usual area NW of the Trig Point at times as close as 100 yards going back to 200 yards. Someone up there again today said they had also seem him yesterday between about 11am and 1pm. He had several spectators today with fans having travelled from Workington and Kendal who would not be dissapointed. Saw on two separate occasions the female Stonechat carrying large grubs in her bill!!  The first proper day of the Meadow Pipit passage with at least 20 over the hour. 

Wednesday 18th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0800-0945hrs

Last Nights Aurora Borealis taken at Cumbria's Derwentwater (photo: internet)

Missed it again! missed what?  the Aurora borealis which was clearly seen over Cumbria and at its very best at 0400hrs this morning.  Look at this startling photo taken from the Derwentwater in Keswick. Anyway back to the question in hand. And what a beautiful morning with lots of wanted sunshine gracing my walk. Birding was so quiet this morning up on Dalton and Hutton Roof, once you took out the Song Thrushes, the tits, robins and dunnocks. 

No Shrikey, No Likey!! and not even a single Mipit went through, just the odd Pied Wagtail. Two pairs of Mistle Thrush looked like they might have been getting ready for conflict! Almost forgot to mention, yesterday I had my first primula in Dalton Crags. 


Tuesday 17th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0800-0945hrs

A lot better day with less wind and the sun starting to break through in part. A warmer day. The Song Thrush was enjoying himself singing away with all his different variations and showing you just how talented he can be, at times so good you thought he was miming other birds, but which birds I really don't know!!  Shrike in view immediately on entering Dalton Crags deforested.  He was showing well at the top of the "Cuckoo Tree" and later went further back on a hawthorn towards to boundary wall.  I guess that would have put him about 100 yards South of the Trig Point.  And guess what?  I had about five Meadow Pipits on Dalton deforested, a couple of pairs which gave the appearance they were already on territory, but time will tell.  Just one single bird actually going through to the North. Found these feathers quite near to the Trig Point this morning, which I brought back for identification, but struggling a bit just at the moment. 

Ah got it!! I have now worked it out what the feathers are!  They will be the Breast or Neck feathers of a Common male Pheasant and at this time of year two males will have been sparring up to one another and this will have been the result! (bruised pride) the giveaway clue for me laid in the fact of the edges showing "iridescent".


The large one of these feathers measures approx 1 1/2" x 1/2"
Please note the iridescent on the bottom edge of the top left feather
Also had a early "Brimstone" Butterfly today whilst over at Arnside on the Railway embankment. 

Monday 16th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900-1100hrs

Still light cold easterlies blowing across.  Much overcast in grey.  Not a lot going on with the occasional Green Woodpecker yaffling and Sky the lark giving his beautiful seranade has you crossed into Dalton Crags (upper deforested).  No signs of Shrike today neither Stonechats as well and even more worrying, no a single Meadow Pipit or lark going through! Several Ravens passing through whilst "cronking". I have been told that two Chiffchaffs were heard calling down at the Keer in Carnforth yesterday (15th).  A report just come in from Steve telling me he had the Shrike at 200 yards NNW of Trig at 1100hrs.  Must have started to show on my leaving. Nice one Steve!!

Sunday 15th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1030hrs to 1230hrs
That cold North Easterly wind was even stronger than yesterday, but every now and again it would weaken down and allow more still periods.  Well Shrikey wasnt for having it today, I searched everywhere on the top of Dalton and also all across Uberash Roughs on the Hutton Roof Common, but he never showed for me.  I think he must have been on one of the lower lying slopes somewhere keeping out of that wind!  I had the Stonechats, but still not even one Meadow Pipit or Skylark! I suppose when they come they will come through in good numbers. Where is that little chap hiding, Maybe down in Lancelot, or on Burton Fell (midway) or across from Rowley Copse, or even further around on the Hutton Roof side of the Rakes, he could be on any of these I suppose.

Saturday 14th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1200hrs

What a fabulous morning, weather OK mainly grey overcast but still that underlying cold easterly wind now and again raising its head, but nothing like on the scale of yesterday.

Got straight on to Mr. Shrike who again was about 150 yards to the NW of the Trig Point, I did manage to close in on him and watched him from about 50 yards and soon he was off again.  Picked him up shortly afterwards down in Dalton Crags (upper/deforested) he was close to the old "Shrike Tree" and about 75 yards from the boundary wall with the Hutton Roof Common.  Again I got within 50 yards of him getting some fantastic views of him perched at only 2 metres high on top of a beech shoot of about 1/2" wide, but because I was to the East side of him and the sun was shining from the best direction to show off his plumage at its very best.
The paired Stonechats were seen again on the stone wall to the South side of the Crags (deforested).

A Wheatear has been seen this morning over at Heysham, and also of interest this very morning a "Herd of Whiteness" containing at least 42 birds has been seen heading North West over Bradford area.  Also a couple of small parties of that same species have been seen during the week heading North over the Morecambe Bay area.  I have usually got my records for these beautful birds somewhere around the 18th March week.

Thursday 12th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Not a lot to report. Could not find the Shrike, he was probably hidden away somewhere on lower ground, maybe down in Lancelot or even over on the Farleton side or over near the Rakes all would be suitable areas for the Shrike to hide out.  I would not blame him either with the gale force winds blowing up there. Although you would never have believed it to how it was down at Plain Quarry. There were times at the Trig Point when it nearly blew you off your feet.  It must have gust to 50 mph at times. 

Wednesday 11th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0830hrs to 1030hrs

Beautiful REDPOLL calling from the lower Crags, found both overwintering STONECHATS to the top of Dalton Crags, also had the first GREY WAGTAIL of the year crossing over Hutton Roof.  No SHRIKE today, but several people had come up to look for it. 


Tuesday 10th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0830hrs to 1000hrs

At the bottom of the crags I heard a Marsh Tit calling.  I have had them calling from all around this area over the last few weeks. Song Thrushes are giving it plenty at the moment from various points on Dalton. Green Woodpeckers are busy yaffling as well. 
My sketch of the Shrike's
upper features - present today
TUESDAY 10th

Great Grey Shrike was seen at 150 yards North West of the Trig in same alignment as the regular path. I will try and get up there daily now I know he's around again. I think this could well be the over wintering bird, he certainly is using the exact same territories as our overwintering bird.

Odd Lesser Black Back Gulls are coming through and heading West, probably on their way back to Walney Island for breeding.

I am told that the first Sand Martin was seen at Leighton Moss yesterday. 


Monday 9th March 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof 0830 to 1000hrs

Really good to get back in the swing of things after being absent for at least a couple of weeks.

Been told the Great Grey Shrike made appearances on the 5th and the 7th of March at his usual territory close by to the Trig Point. Up until then he had not been seen since January 5th, so just where have you been Mr. Shrike?

Today I did not see him, nor did I see the over wintering Stonechats, but sure they will still be around.

At last managed to hear Song Thrushes calling from their high post with a fabulous array of mixed songs.  Just nothing like it! why not try writing the songs down in a notebook and try putting the song into a sort of  "english language", I do it regular and its totally incredible to have on record the differentials and variants he does.  I can't think of any other bird that has these ranges.  After saying that the little Great Tit does'nt do so bad with over 200 variations of his song.

Sky the lark was singing pleasantly on her territory with just the occasional vertical lift!
but today she did not have any threatening passing by Larks to annoy her, so quieter than usual.  There again it was cold and there was a strong biting wind with it as well.  Certainly if today's records are anything to go by it was not a "vismig" day. Although the Meadow Pipits should start getting going anyday now.

One of a pair of Kestrels was constantly being harassed by a Carrion Crow which did not seem to want to give up!  It must have been dive bombing it for over half a hour. Can't understand what they get from this, because at the end of the day the bird of prey always wins through!  just a total waste of energy if you ask me!

Been told Goldcrest were heard a fortnight ago, which again is spot on to the day.

Had a "cronking" Raven, also had a couple of "yaffling" Green Woodpeckers in Dalton.

Well well! its that time of year again and already the Chiffchaffs are well on their way back from Africa with a ETA of approx 10 days time, although I have had them in Burton as early as the 15th March before now. Also the Swallows ETA is around the 25th March so its well worth looking up into those skies and listening in the wooded areas for that "chiff, chaff, chiff chaff, chitty"

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Reflections from Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and maybe the next day




Friday February 27th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Lancelot Clark Storth - Hutton Roof

Managed to get up on the Crags today and it soon became apparent that SKY the lark had returned to her regular nesting territory and over the next hour a further pair plus another single skylark made their way through on their way to the North, but I would probably not have noticed them but for SKY's constant "seeing them off" or should I say "escorting them through her territory" whilst shouting at them in her constant bird song! I was so sorry though because I had forgot to bring my "tanner".
The Stonechats are still around having already overwintered in the Crags. A couple of Mistle Thrushes were seen. Lots of Chaffinch and other finches including Siskin. No Shrike to be found.
Sadly its also that time of year again BEWARE OF CROSSING TOADS AND FROGS already this morning noticed two well squashed large frogs just has you come on to our Close. I must count at least 30 fatalities every year at this time, always at the same spot crossing over the road to the local pond. I must collect and assist scores of frogs every year. This crossing to the breeding pool usually last for about three weeks.
This afternoon went up into Lancelot Clark Storth to see Wal (Cumbria Wildlife Trust warden on HR). He was taking charge of a working party who had travelled all the way over from Bradford to volunteer for coppicing the Hazel on Hutton Roof Crags. They are a great crowd and come over regular for three day working parties whilst at night stopping over in Ingleton. They have large bonfires to burn the coppiced Hazel and put "spuds" into the lower embers of the fire and if I arrive somewhere around lunchtime I get chance to relish one of these lovely spuds!!
Noticed on way up one or two large bird kills eg: Woodpigeons and Pheasants. They will have been taken with a local Peregrine or the local Buzzards.
Now noticing Lords and Ladies and Celandine starting to come through...

Monday February 16th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof  1300 to 1500hrs

Yipee! First returning upland birds..... 3 SKYLARKS
Not on territory, just passing through to the North West and making their "Thrupping" contact call.
The pair of Stonechats continue to overwinter near the Gully in the top of the Crags (deforested). Also had three Buzzards and Three Ravens. I have had the rare Willow Tit again today, they have been resident near to the Plain Quarry area, regularly seen and sometimes heard.
Odd Nuthatches calling, but as yet for me no Song Thrushes as yet, but would expect anyday now. 



Saturday February 14th 2015 - Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof

No Skylarks, On way up had Stonechats (regular pair), 3 Buzzard (one pair), 1 Raven, Nuthatch giving alarm near to Plain Quarry. 

NEVER SEE LARKS THIS MORNING UP ON THEM FELLS,
THERE PROBABLY HIDING DOWN IN THEM DELLS
BUT I HAD MY LANKY TANNER READY JUST BY CHANCE,
I HAD BEEN FORTUNATE TO GET A GLANCE....
MAYBE TOMORROW..........

"I held my tanner, and squeezed it tight,
In the hope of seeing a skylark sight,
For today was Valentine, for early birds,
Squeeze that tanner to the first larks song,
Will bring thi luck for the year long........"

Towd that tale from Oxy Dave,
A Yorkshireman known to save,
Another man who looks for Larks,
Nice one to thee Dave, top marks!


This is my sketch of a typical February wildlife calendar in these Cumbrian parts
Tuesday 10th February 2015

Last couple of days have been quiet up on Hutton Roof. Today (Tuesday) I did have a skein of Pinks go through Dalton at 0845hrs heading NW but sadly could not see them because of the low mist. Lots of finches, tits, robins and dunnocks just behind the Plain Quarry Car Park.

Friday 6th February 2015

On way up Alec told me that the four local Great Spotted Woodpeckers where very noisy and drumming in the local copses by Dalton Hamlet.

Currently lots of tree felling going on in lower Dalton. 

MistleThrush back on breeding territory just has you enter Dalton (upper/deforested).

Paired Stonechats at top side of gully in Dalton Crags deforested. 

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 This was Dalton Crags this morning (Wednesday 4th February 2015)


Wednesday 4th February 2015

Beautiful on the Crags today.  Our pair of Stonechats on view and doing OK.  A Green Woodpecker whilst on my way up.  
Nothing much on Hutton Roof Common.  Checked out the Holly Ferns and the deer have nibbled the top off Holly Fern No.2 (as usual at this time of year - exposed).

*************************************************************************************************


"Reflection"  (click over photo to enlarge)

"I listened for the roar of immortal Lions,
I heard viola play to the daffodil sprites,
Echo to echo, echoed from near to far
Whilst pebbles skimmed and shimmered waters free.

Muted Swans whistled with whispering silence,
As white as the snow that sweeps the raise,
Hourglass frieze with trickling sand,
Whilst Mere reflects her passion flow".

(21st January 2015)

*******************************************************************************


Yesterday Tuesday January 20th 2015This photo I took yesterday from the bottom end of Grasmere at the point just before it goes back into the River Rothay. And it shows both Helm Crag and Dunmail Raise reflected in the "Mere".  I just could not resist writing my poetry to accompany this photo. (photo taken on my phone)

Wednesday January 21st 2015
It was again a pleasure to be out and about today and I went up through Dalton to the Trig Point and continued to check out Uberash Roughs.  The only birds I could report were all down in lower Dalton to the East of the Plain Quarry Car Park.

Reports have been coming through that Brambling have been spotted in this area, and I would not be suprised if this was the case, but today I never saw any or heard any.  But what I did see was a party of at least 12 Bullfinch and probably there would have been far more than this, all mobile and in with a large party of Chaffinches.  Lots of Tits and Robins and Dunnocks.

Was listening for about ten minutes to the regular "hou-whit" call similar to what you do get from the post breeding Chiffchaff, or the Willow Warbler, or the Redstart or the Chaffinch, but no not today.  The call was as pure as can be and it was being sung by the Great Tit!! with a return of the same call from another Great Tit across the way.  For me very very interesting....

Thursday January 22nd 2015
Another fabulous morning and again went up to the Trig Point from Plain Quarry.  No bird activity whatsoever on the top while I was there over one hour.  But still plenty of overwintering birds around the areas adjacent to the Plain Quarry Car Park.  Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Robins, Tits etc

Saturday January 24th 2015
Guess what!  the two overwintering Stonechats have re-appeared in Dalton Crags, having been absent in the local area since the New Year. They were quite near to the "line of trees".

Sunday January 25th 2015

Stonechats seen again but moved up and over slightly to the "gully" area of Dalton Crags.  Other than the Chats I did hear one or two bullfinch and several Chaffinch over the lower Dalton areas. Also noted one or two Great Tits making the "hou-whit" calls...... brilliant!

Notes reported to the Lancaster and District Birdwatching Society Website (25/1/15)

The Stonechats have re-appeared in Dalton Crags after being missing since New Years Eve.

Lots of Bullfinch are overwintering in Dalton Crags in fragmented parties in or around 200 yards of the Plain Quarry Car Park (especially to the East side).  The largest party I have counted so far is twelve but suspect at least 30 birds at least in the area.  Lots of Chaffinch as well.

Thrushes thin on the ground this year compared to past years with odds and sods just passing through.  Best parties in the last two weeks have been around the 5-10 Redwing parties.

Accidentally flushing odd Snipe and Woodcock from the limestone areas on Hutton Roof.

Shrike last recorded January 5th.  I suspect he is about somewhere locally!  the reason I say this is purely projecture.  However I can say we have never had birds in recent years which have been seen after Nov 30th until this bird! also with the other two local Shrikes eg: Fylde and Grindleton still being about I am sure ours will be about somewhere in the local vicinity.  Another point of interest is that when we are lucky enough to see Shrikes in the Spring on their way back they are usually seen from the beginning of March, so this again makes it a very probable prospect!

Also had a couple of Great Tits doing the soft "hou-whit" calls, almost exactly the same you would get from the post breeding Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler or Redstart or even our beloved Chaffinch.  But from the Great Tit..... absolutely brilliant!

Friday January 30th 2015

At least 80 Redwing and 20 Starling feeding in Curwen Wood Park this morning (0830hrs).

at 1600hrs watching the Woodpigeon coming through Dalton to roost, a few hundred or so.  So co-ordinated the regular parties over 30 minutes hardly moved outside of their 50 yards corridor, that same corridor all the passerines use in the Autumn NW to SE.

Not seen the Yellowhammers or Tree Sparrows since about Christmas, so whether they are still around or not I really dont know.  Must try and check the area more regular.

Saturday January 31st 2015

Over 200 plus small birds from behind the Plain Quarry area and seen heading to the East side of the Quarry and doing the circular.  The birds were mainly Chaffinch.  I did suspect to hear possible Brambling amongst them.  Also closeby small parties of Bullfinch.

Had a Peregrine fly almost directly above me whilst climbing the Crags at Dalton, got some great close up views.

On the upper Crags and Common never had anything today, nor where the Stonechats about.

Sunday February 1st 2015

Checked out the area on the Farleton Side, almost opposite the entrance to Rowley Copse, it looks a cracking area.  I just had a Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch several piping, Blackbirds and four Magpies, otherwise comparatively quiet.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Great Grey Shrike re-appeared on Hutton Roof - MORE SHRIKY, MORE LIKEY!!


I was suprised to see the re-appearance of the Grey Grey Shrike on Hutton Roof this morning. Watching for over 20 minutes whilst the bird was using the very tops of the more mature trees in a direction which was North West to the Trig Point at distances from 100 to 200 yards.  It disappeared after this time and I think (though not absolute) gone down into Lancelot Clark Storth.

It is a complete mystery to where can it have been since it was last seen on the 7th December 2014 and today's sighting is in exactly the same place as where it was last seen.  So if it is the same bird (which I dont doubt for one minute), it does look like it could well have been present on Hutton Roof or thereabouts since the very first sighting of the bird on 25th November 2014.

A very elusive character indeed, I had searched high and low during its early period of absence in all the most likely of places on both Hutton Roof and Farleton, and also on the other side of Dalton at Major's Nursery but could not find it anywhere, and after six days of its initial absence (6th December 2014), more or less had come to accept that the bird had probably left us for warmer climate down in the Balearics.

So today's sighting is so welcome!  Another factor of interest is that it may tie in with the other nearby Shrikes recorded both at Grindleton (Clitheroe) and Lytham (Fylde). Both these birds have also been present for some considerable time, in fact from the beginning of last November, so maybe this is giving indication that they could well overwinter the full season this time.  Time will tell.

Obviously now I will get myself even more disciplined and try and get up daily to monitor the ongoing situation with our Hutton Roof shrike.

The pair of Stonechats we have had with us over the past two months where not seen again today. The last sighting I had of them was on New Years Eve.

Still lots of small passerines at the bottom of Dalton Crags and onward to the Plain Quarry Car Park.

A sketch will be offered to this blog shortly.
Thanks for checking out the blog and all the very best for the New Year.
Bryan.

Tuesday January 6th 2015
"In search of Shrike"  0930hrs to 1200hrs  
Checked out Hutton Roof Trig Point area and also Uberash Roughs,  but no signs of Shrike for me. Will try and check out again tomorrow.

Wednesday January 7th 2015
"In search of Shrike" 1000hrs to 1230hrs
Checked out Hutton Roof around the Trig Point area and also came back down through Lancelot Clark Storth, but no signs of Shrike.

Tuesday January 12th 2015
"In search of Shrike" 0930hrs to 1130hrs
Checked out Dalton Crags and Hutton Roof Common near to the Trig Point.  but no signs of Shrike. Just had three honking Ravens.

Wednesday January 14th 2015
Had a very enjoyable afternoon and met lots of interesting people whilst having the pleasure of presenting "Mipits, Migrations and lots of Illustrations" at the Kendal U3A (Natural History) at the Castle Street Centre.

Monday January 19th 2015 0900hrs to 1100hrs
A absolute pleasure to be out this morning.  The only birds I had to record were a party of 8 Bullfinch  which had 3 males and 5 females, just behind Plain Quarry, Dalton.  Also had a Woodcock which alighted as I got to the top of the lower Dalton Crags section.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Dog Lichen, Cladonia's and other gems!


Today I had a change from the usual by going over the other side of Dalton to the beautiful gorge near to Majors Nursery.  It wasn't long before I heard the chaffing of overhead Fieldfare and see-ipping of Redwing. Until disturbed they had been enjoying the berries being offered up by the mature hawthorns which lined part of the track. I could not help but think about the last time I had walked along this same section of track I had been observing a lovely male Common Redstart singing his song with the electro buzzing sound which he offers so splendid. This beauty for now long gone and keeping warm, somewhere down in the African continent.

Soon the beautiful gorge appears and from its sides you hear the calls from stray pheasants making communication with one another, for today they were the lucky ones who had escaped the shoot!  I also saw a Green Woodpecker, but no yaffle was offered he was silent whilst clinging in vertical posture against his thin straight upright tree.

Dog Lichen (Click over to enlarge)
The next wonder to catch my eye was what at first looked very much like "burnt leaves" on the sandy heathland track floor , and seemed at first  almost camouflaged by the surrounding leaf foliage, but these were dark greenier to almost black and with the in out weaving lobes you come to expect with some of the commoner oak leaf structures, yet these also offered that perfect white border. Also the underside was white and downy with white root like growths which I think kept the lichen attached to its acidy floor.

Now thinking about it, I had seen them several of times before whilst on areas of the Hutton Roof complex, but for some reason today those early memories had at first eluded me as to just what where they?  You could not help thinking maybe they were some form of fungi!  no, no, I quickly found out (thanks to a kind reminder from friend Mike V) that they were the Dog Lichen and of the family "Pettigera" and maybe of the variety (canina!).

Cladonia (Click over to enlarge)
Closeby and in multitude the banksides were amassed with Cladonia, I remembered this one OK, but guess it would be a minefield to try and establish just which variety they were.  A beautiful sight to see with them having taken over tree stumps, or old fallen long rested decaying forlorn branches of nearby tree remains  together also taking over parts of the mossy embankment itself.  For me the closer you look at these the more beautiful they become. Some were quite large and 2" in height and gave a "staghorn" appearance.  Others you noticed were like "golfers tees" in structure whilst others were just upright bendy sticks with a depression at the head.  Looking close at some of the golfers tees I noticed that their cup perimeters did have extremely small (to the eye) red dots showing at measured intervals, but think perhaps you would need the x10 glass to check them out properly.  I have included a couple more photographs here.

Cladonia - staghorn look 2" high

On the same embankment was another really interesting species which again unless you looked really close "it would not bear fruit with you".  Looking from my references I gather it to be called Baeomyces rufus (see photo below), at least thats what it looks like to me! and all the criteria seems to match OK.  The Brown sporing bodies could easily be overlooked and are truly amazing when you take the "macro" shot!

Baeomyces rufus I think!
I get very few records of the Hard Fern (Blicant spicant) on Hutton Roof itself, simply because its a area of limestone, although there are one or two small pockets of acidity areas where this species can be found.  But here today on this side "acid ground" was no problem and the species could be identified in lots of small areas within a 100ft radius sector.

I have also included below a couple of photos of both the Cladonia with  its "Golfers Tees" and another photo of the lovely hard fern (Blechnum spicant)

Cladonia (click over to enlarge)
Hard Fern (Blechnum spicant)

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Great Grey Shrike etc on Hutton Roof

Shrikes recorded look outs, in Dalton and Hutton Roof
(Please click over image to enlarge)
(Tuesday 25th November 2014) "5 years since last November visit"

0900hrs to 1200hrs  -  On approach to Trig Point and walking up the main track leading through the Dalton upper (deforested area) and sure enough Mr. Shrike was sat on the uppermost branch of the largest of the trees which are set quite near (30 yards) to the gate entry where you leave from Dalton and onto the Common.  He left there and flew over the Common and somewhere presumed to far side.

 Whilst using the Trig Point has a main look out post I soon relocated him sat on a low 15ft tree which sort of projects itself through the middle of a thick crop of blackthorn which lies to the South East of the Trig and lies to the base of the escarpment. Before long he was lost again and it was decided to take the small path which runs East from the Trig Point. After 100 yards approx I relocated him yet again sat on top of a small hawthorn tree which is set half way up the side of the escarpment.  Again lots of good views of him before he set off again tree hopping and then out of site.  After a short time he was relocated in the trees at the top of Dalton deforested quite close to the old Shrike tree.  From here he moved further down Dalton crossing over from one side to the other and close to the Blackthorn on the Crag House side.  From there he flew over the wall on the Crag House side and lost from site.  Also had two Green Woodpeckers, Male and Female Stonechat sat on the wall (Crag House side of Dalton deforested), a few Fieldfare, a couple of Cronking Ravens and also told of a Brambling calling from within the large mixed finch party currently sent near to the Plain Quarry Car Park.

It was great to see so many keen observers this morning which included many from the Lancaster Bird Club and it was lovely to meet up with everyone again. David, Simon, Keith (Arnside), Peter, Tom, John and Keith (Lancaster)

Historic Shrikes on Hutton Roof: (From my own personal records and monitored daily during their presence)

Previously to my own records which start from 2009 the Shrike was recorded during November during the years 2007 and 2008.

I had the great pleasure to witness the Shrike from the 4th November 2009 when he stayed with us up to the 30th November 2009 (26 days) this was the last time it was seen on Hutton Roof during the month of November until now (5 years ago)!

Other past historic Shrike dates I recorded on Hutton Roof:

March 10th 2010 and left 27th March 2010 (total of 17 days)

also March 7th 2011 and left 10th April 2010 (total of 34 days)

I am beginning to think that the birds we see on Hutton Roof are possibly birds calling off during both their Autumn and Spring annual migrations from possibly the Scandinavian countries and heading to Spain or the Mediterranean.

Another Shrike recorded yesterday from Hawkshead.  Also birds still down at Lytham and also over in Grindleton as well.

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(Wednesday 26th November 2014)
(1400hrs to 1515hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Great Grey Shrike present at 1430hrs 150 yards East/South East of Trig Point on top of straggling tree which comes out from the centre of large blackthorn area which lies to bottom of escarpment (Looking from the Trig, line up with the Timber Yard at Hutton Roof).  This is becoming a popular area for the Shrike having now been seen within this same area on three separate occasions. Seen flitting about for over 45 minutes and the last sighting I had and still there on leaving was at 50 yards initially and then further back to 120 yards on a large tree North/North North West of the Trig Point and still on the Hutton Roof Common.
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(Thursday 27th November 2014)
(0900hrs to 1015hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Great Grey Shrike present at 0915hrs on top of right hand side large tree which you pass under just before you are about to leave Dalton and go onto the Common.  Watched from a distance, he then moved about 70 yards to the right hand side (south direction) but still up against the Common boundary wall.  Lost sight. Went up to Trig Point for vantage look out but never saw him again, presumed somewhere on the Common.  (Trig Point vantage Look out is SD555(99) 774(52)

Also present: Both male and female Stonechats on the Blackthorn patch near the gully in Dalton deforested close to the boundary wall to Crag House side.  Also Redwing (20+) and several Fieldfare seen in the area. Also two Meadow Pipit have been around for a couple of days in Dalton deforested. Also a nice surprise to have a Woodcock fly past me and went down somewhere into the bracken on the Crag House side of the wall. Its usually about now when I get my main arrivals of Woodcock.

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(Friday 28th November 2014)
(0900hrs to 1030hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Great Grey Shrike first seen at 1000hrs at the top end of Lancelot 40 yards West of the Solar Panels, he shortly moved over into Dalton deforested where we saw him flitting about after insects etc, he was seen perching from several places before he decided to go East and settled down on a low hawthorn which was at about 50 yards South of the Trig Point and at the base of the first escarpment. Came away at 1030hrs.

It was nice to meet up with Geoff E and really pleased we saw the Shrike.  He managed to take several good photographs of the bird.

Stonechats where missing today.

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(Saturday 29th November 2014)
(0900hrs to 1030hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Great Grey Shrike found after some 30 minutes and first located to the Crag House wall side of Dalton deforested in a small hawthorn to the top right hand corner (near the start of the escarpment), then he went into the nearby large Cuckoo tree where he seemed to rest up for some twenty minutes or so.  Never saw him after this.

Both male and female Stonechat where seen on the blackthorn towards the bottom of the "gully".

Several Redwing and Fieldfare in the lower Dalton Crags and 200 Woodpigeon approx.

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(Sunday 30th November 2014)
(0900hrs to 1200hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

After checking out all the usual Great Grey Shrike haunts in Dalton/The Common and top of Lancelot I just could not find it anywhere.  Gave up at 1200hrs. There is always tomorrow!

On way up had the pair of Stonechats quite close to the boundary wall with the Common at times being most confusing when checking out from a distance with them using the uppermost perches of the tall trees!!

Two Ravens seen regularly in the deforested.  Also Redwings in lower Dalton.

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(Monday 1st December 2014)
(0900hrs to 1030hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Checked out most of the regular haunts of the Great Grey Shrike, but not showing anywhere and I concluded it was without doubt NO SHRIKEY, NO LIKEY.  I suppose he could well be further down in Lancelot or for that matter, the middle section of Burton Fell which has well spaced out hawthorns and looks quite good area for a Shrike, no less of a area which would equally deserve searching would be to the West side of The Rakes which lies to the East side of Hutton Roof.  I will certainly try and get around to these areas over the coming days.  I suppose he could well have moved on by now because looking back five years ago the bird then left on the 30th November 2009.  No doubt over the next few days will confirm one way or another whether the 29th November 2014 remains his last day of the 9 he graced us with his most welcome presence.

Well well!  Mr and Mrs Stonechat may well have fallen out with one another because they prefer to stay almost 1/2 a mile apart today!  I thought it strange when noticing Mrs just after my entering the Dalton deforested section and I could not see Mr anywhere about,  because has a rule they are only yards away from one another and seem constant companions.  Before long whilst checking things out on the Common to the East side of Ploverlands who should be seen? none other than Mr Stonechat perched as bold as brass on the uppermost branch of a solitary mid sized hawthorn tree whilst looking over the woodlands below to his East.

The local Mistle Thrush was singing away on the sides of Dalton deforested.  It seems really early to me as though the months have shifted a bit.

Green Woodpecker present and yaffling occasionally. Saw at least a couple from both the deforested and further down at the top of the lower Dalton Crags.

Also plenty of Redwings and Fieldfare present in the beech trees down in Dalton.  Also at least 3 parties of Long Tailed Tits present and seen on the Common

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(Tuesday 2nd December 2014)
(0800hrs to 0900hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Good job I hadn't given up on the Great Grey Shrike, although the thought had ran through my head that perhaps it had moved on to a warmer climate!  Well the cheekie chappie re-appeared this morning only about 75 yards North West of the Trig Point in the largest of trees which is more or less situated directly above the North West footpath (footpath which goes from Trig to the Two Cairns). He sat there for a few minutes before going down on prey somewhere further back to the North West and not seen since.  He can be so elusive, but it was so nice after two days absent to get a "peep" this morning!

Fieldfares and Redwings were present in Dalton Crags (deforested) perhaps a couple of dozen in total. Six Fieldfare were on the move coming over the Trig point in a NW to SE line.  As usual Green Woodpeckers in attendance.  No Stonechats recorded today.

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(Wednesday 3rd December 2014) "Yellowhammers a plenty"
(0900hrs to 1200hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags and then walk down through Lancelot Clark Storth and Burton Fell)

I could not find the Shrike anywhere today after searching all is usual haunts.  He seems to be playing at Mr. Elusive once again.***(update see below)***  Did manage to check out the Stonechats who are back in harmony spending most of their time in the same tree!!  Last seen at top of Dalton Crags and also on the Common near to the gate leading to Dalton deforested.

Again teens of Redwings and Fieldfare mainly in the bottom of Dalton deforested.  A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 1 Yaffler seen in Dalton. A party of Long Tailed Tits on the Common.  Lots of moving Woodpigeon some coming into Hutton Roof whilst others leaving mainly to the North or from the North.

Whilst coming through the fields and heading home to Burton, counted a minium of 15 Yellowhammers and could well have been up to 30 plus within a large party of 50 mixed flock. There were definately some Chaffinch, but could not see any Tree Sparrows today.  Need to keep my eye on these!!

***update****1650hrs:  Just had some great news from Allan W who saw the Shrike this morning at approximately 1115hrs it was midway down in Dalton deforested and seen to make its way somewhere over into Lancelot.

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(Thursday 4th December 2014) "Shrike been with us two weeks today"
(0900hrs to 1015hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

Saw Mr. Shrike immediately on reaching Trig Point.  He was sat at the top of a large tree in a true NN West direction and about 100 yards back from the Trig Point, the tree would be almost in alignment to the footpath which leads eventually to the two Cairns. This tree and area is now becoming a hotspot having noticed him in this area several times.  He was seen there for about ten minutes before seeing him fly off West in a Lancelot direction, as though somewhere up against the borders with Dalton deforested.  But could not find after this.

At least 50 Redwing in Dalton Crags (lower) along with a party of 20 Greenfinches.  Also large party of both Chaffinch and included some Bullfinch down near the Plain Quarry Carpark.

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(Friday 5th December 2014) "No Shrike recorded today"
(0900hrs to 1030hrs)  Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags.

What a beautiful day today, cold but with the sun shining down it was great.  Checked out Dalton Crags (deforested area-upper), checked all around the Trig Point and Ploverlands to the back side.  Also checked out over the rough grass heathland of Uberash Roughs with the two Cairns in the distance.  But just could not get on Mr. Shrikey!  I am wondering just where he disappears to on these days when I can't find him. I am rather suspicious that he doesn't go far away and that he his probably tucked in somewhere down in Lancelot or on the borders of Uberash Roughs on the Common.

When I have drawn a blank he is regularly seen by other fortunate individuals in his regular haunts and just shortly after I have gone which rather indicates he his never far away!!

People are always asking me if I think that this is the same bird we got back in 2011!  But to be honest there is just no way of telling that!

I would perhaps go as far as saying I doubt it very much indeed.  That's not an assumption from the appearance of the current bird, but from the territorial habits of the current in bird in relation to all previous birds I have spent time watching.  The current bird is tending to use areas which other Shrikes hardly used before and seen in those areas with regularity eg: lots of time on Uberash Roughs, lots of time in the top of Lancelot.  Shrikes over the past 5 years have not used these areas with any regularity but just occasionally.  The past birds have tended to stay fairly sedentary within the Dalton deforested or the Trig Areas and Ploverlands and the two escarpment areas South below the Trig, hardly venturing to the North West or West sides.

Today I also was watching the Stonechat who were at one of their regular spots near the Blackthorn which is at the tip of the Gulley on the Crag House side of Dalton deforested.  Also whilst crossing from Dalton lower Crags into the deforested area I had no less that 60 Redwing and about 15 Fieldfare.  Lots of Woodpigeon could be seen in the tops of the trees in Storth Wood and Dalton generally.  Had a couple of "Yafflers" in Dalton deforested.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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(Saturday 6th December 2014)
(0800hrs to 0915hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags

A very keen frost this morning.  Checked out Dalton deforested and also on the Common near to the Trig Point.  Never saw the Shrike this morning, so that's two days for me that he's been missing.

Stonechats seen about 3/4 way up in Dalton deforested. Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers seen. Also Fieldfare and Redwing.

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(Sunday 7th December 2014)
(0900hrs to 1100hrs) Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags

Again for me personally another day (the third) without seeing the Shrike, but the good news is that it has been seen this morning at 0900hrs by John of Barrow who was watching it to the North West side of the Hutton Roof Common.  If you proceed along the North West footpath from the Trig Point, before long the level drops and heads into a more opened up area.  The Shrike was seen in the lower trees within this area.

I did flush a Snipe from within the same areas.  Also a large flock (50+) of predominately Chaffinch in the Woodland area right up against the Plain Quarry Car Park.

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(Monday 8th December 2014)
0900hrs to 1030hrs  Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags

Another day (the fourth for me) without Shrike after searching the full perimeters of Uberash Roughs, Dalton etc.

I will give it another try tomorrow and choose another location.

STARLINGS: Its nice to see that Starlings are roosting again this year in the large conifer tree in Burton Old Hall, Tanpits lane, Burton In Kendal.  Not sure how many yet but definitely two or three hundred.

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(Tuesday 9th December 2014)
0800hrs to 0930hrs Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags

Yet another blank for me in regards to the Shrike (5 days missing now) also I have not seen the Stonechats since Saturday last.

Lots of mixed Thrushes mainly down in Dalton Crags lower and lots of Woodpigeon 100+

Large 50+ Chaffinch and Bullfinch party still present around the Plain Quarry Car Park Woodland area.
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(Wednesday 10th December 2014)
0900hrs to 1015hrs Hutton Roof Common via Dalton Crags

Winds blowing at 50 to 60 mph today so very little showing.  The only avian life about was a solitary Raven and also a Green Woodpecker.  Lots of Chaffinches and several Bullfinches in the large finch party close to the Plain Quarry car park.

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Thursday, 20 November 2014

Return of the Great Grey Shrike in Dalton Crags


So what do we get up to when the birds have temporarily slowed down?

Theres always lots to do!  so now I am getting ready for the turn of the Fungi and the Lichens, together with the remnants of some of this years almost spent Ferns and these hopefully should take us through to the flora and the birds again ready for yet another yearly cycle!  In fact not only that I have lots to do with my writings, my drawings, my Haslingden Old and New history blog along with this blog, and still finding time for the odd local presentation or walk or twitter tweets!!  How on earth did I ever fit all this in when I was working, well I did, but let me say it was on a far more reduced scale to what it is today..

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This week I have already found some nice fungi and some of them are new to me
This one is a beautiful colour and notice that it stains the wood in fact the coloured wood is used much in furniture today and I think its called the "Tunbridge Ware" (see photo below) - found yesterday 15th November 2014 - Lancelot Clark Storth
Example of wood staining by the "Green Elf Cup" 
Not sure what this one is, its perhaps about 1/2" in diameter
(Click over to enlarge)

This one is another special one and perhaps only a little bigger than a match stick. I found this in Lancelot Clark Storth.

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(Saturday 15th November 2014) 
Please click over sketch to enlarge

Whilst walking along the hedgerows closeby to Vicarage Lane in Burton In Kendal, I was met with a large party of at least 40 birds which were mixed between Tree Sparrows and Yellowhammers.  I did not have my binoculars with me but easily recognized a breakaway party of seven Yellowhammers in a tree just above where I was walking.

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(Wednesday 19th November 2014) Yesterday evening was a great pleasure to address the Kendal and South Westmorland Beekeepers Association over at Abbots Hall in Kendal. Thankfully they didn't want me to talk about bees!  No it was a lovely evening showing the members photos and illustrations/sketches along with sound recordings of the birds expected to be seen on vismig over at nearby Hutton Roof, together with the second half showing photos of the rarer flora species on HR together with the story of the re-discovery of the Holly Fern and the current research being carried out into the Epipactis Schmalhauseneii rare hybrid.
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(Thursday 20th November 2014) "Return of the GSS"
A long long way away, but click over to enlarge
I just knew that today was going to be something very special.  It started great has I was walking up through Dalton Crags, I had no less than 400 plus Woodpigeon take to the skies and there were many more still undecided and circling around not sure whether to go or carry on eating.....

Then half way up Dalton deforested I was met with the resident male and female Stonechat.  I say resident because they have now been here for a least three weeks.

Approximately 50 Fieldfare took up and left Lancelot/Dalton areas and headed off over on the Common.

Giving a general glimpse towards the top of Dalton Crags (unforested) specifically with the intention of searching out the Great Grey Shrike like I do on most mornings at this time of year, I just caught that "flashing" white out of the corner of my eye.  Binoculars to the ready and sure enough there he was flitting about from the uppermost of the sparsely leaved thin wind swept swaying silver birch tree and down to the ground with haste and vigour, then seconds later he was back up to the very uppermost branch in readiness for a replay.  I watched him for perhaps half hour constantly hunting insects, I never saw a wriggling lizard, nor nothing as large as a vole or small bird, so can only imagine that insects was what was on the menu this morning.  I wonder just how long he will stop with us this year.  Checking back its three years since he last made a appearance when he has usually stayed around for at least a fortnight, sometimes longer than a month.

So that's sorted it! my morning daily work schedule is for the time being re- programmed to take in daily visits to check on our rare Shrike, and to monitor him daily to see how long he will be in attendance, whilst at the same time making notes. The butcher bird of Hutton Roof has again graced us with his presence.  Will he be with us for the day, the week or several weeks!

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(Friday 21st November 2014)  "No Shrike today"
Please click over to enlarge
A good two hours from 0900hrs to 1100hrs was spent checking out all the usual Shrike haunts eg: to the top of the Dalton deforested area.  On to the Common taking in both points to the North and SE of the Trig Point in a good radius, then checking my last option down into Lancelot Clark Storth (top areas) from above the BAP Memorial Seat.  It was really windy up there this morning and perhaps he's hanging out in some more sheltered area.  Also the resident Stonechats were also missing.  Other sightings was a Green Woodpecker, several Fieldfare, anywhere up to 100 Woodpigeon.  A nice mixed finch party just behind the Plain Quarry car park which included Chaffinch, Redpoll and Bullfinch.  Interesting to find Yellow Staghorn on decaying pine in Dalton Crags.

Update:  Just to report that the Great Grey Shrike has been seen again at 1100hrs today.

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(Saturday 22nd November 2014) "Shrike refound"
Seen the Shrike again today. It was about 0900hrs when I first saw him he was about 150 yards to the North West of the Trig Point, within Lancelot Clark Storth and not far from the boundary wall.  He could be seen continually either setting up high and fluttering to catch insects before returning to his high station.  He was also seen to go almost straight down to catch prey on the ground as well.  After about one hour he started to move along and work his way around to the top section of Dalton deforested and what a great pleasure it was to see him on the "actual Shrike Tree" amongst the many perches he chose.  I had to leave at 1100hrs but he seemed really happy and content whilst in Dalton.

Since heard this afternoon he was again seen for sometime and eventually was making his way back across into Lancelot Clark Storth.  Also on good authority the Stonechats have also reappeared this afternoon in Dalton.

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(Sunday 23rd November 2014) "Elusive Shrike"
Along with friends RE and JB we searched and searched for our dear friend Mr. Shrike, throughout Dalton upper, Lancelot, Burton Fell and back around on the Common itself.  Nothing, Nothing Nothing!
that's the bad news!  but very soon afterwards I was told some information that was music to my ears, to be told that two birdwatchers had just mentioned to other birdwatchers that they had seen the bird some twenty minutes earlier and it was showing to the North West of the Trig point and at a distance at around the 1100hrs.  Just typical and what you would expect from the Shrike, we went there initially and left there to look in other nearby areas and whilst away the bird had been putting on a show back there, but when we got back to the same point the bird had vanished yet again...  Also the pair of Stonechats where back at their normal place in Dalton upper, also odd Green Woodpeckers seen, odd thrushes and lots of restless Woodpigeons.  A couple of parties of Long Tailed Tits.  Also a party of 22 Pink Footed Geese heading over Dalton to a South South East direction.

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(Monday 24th November 2014) "Shrike confirmed adult bird"
I was up near the Trig Point by around the 0930hrs but no sign of the Shrike, so decided to have a little walk North West to the boundary walls adjoining the Common to Lancelot Clark Storth.  I just happened to glance to the side in a North direction and saw the Shrike cross over the Common and settled in a large tree on the escarpment which overlooks Uberash Roughs, he then left that tree and seemed to disappear in what could have been a South East direction and so after following his tracks along the escarpment and crossing over the pavement the hunch paid off and was seen again this time at the escarpment below the Trig Point which is South/South East, he was in the small medium sized straggled hawthorns.  He was seen regularly diving down from the uppermost branch to the ground, but quickly returning.  It certainly gave the impression it was insects he was going after. Very flitty, only resting for short 5 minute periods at the best.  He then pursued his almost 300 yard approx circled flight to entertain us from within the regular Dalton deforested areas where he was seen for a good 30 minutes or so. He was using mainly the areas near the Cuckoo Tree and came half way down Dalton showing close to the Blackthorn patch near the South side of the "Gully" and also seen to alight on the fencing post on the south side.
I left at 1130hrs after having had some superb views at different points from Julian's telescope, and this provided the confirmation that the bird was a full adult and not a immature.

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