March 1, 2011
Today’s beautiful spring-like morning, warm, windless, and with a clear blue sky, provided the ideal opportunity to search out the elusive Great Grey Shrike which yesterday had been reported back at Storiths in the Wharfe valley after a long absence.
[UPDATE: What is almost certainly the same bird was was reported 3km to the east by the old A59 road on March 3 & 4; it was back at Storiths on the 6th]
This bird had first been seen here at Storiths on December 8 last year where it remained until the 14th. It was not seen again until January 3 when (what was almost certainly) the same bird appeared at Grimwith Reservoir, some 10km to the north, and remained there until the 13th. A week later on January 20th it was seen briefly from Barden Scale Raptor Watch-point which lies between Grimwith and Storiths but since then there appear to have been no further sightings until yesterday (Feb 28) when it was back at Storiths. This was at a point a little above the hamlet in an area where logs were being stored prior to transport.
This morning, the chances of seeing it seemed slight because heavy machinery was active in the logging area at first. Thankfully though this soon stopped and after an hour's wait the Shrike suddenly appeared and perched on the top of a shrub for a few minutes. Then it was off again but this time despite a long search it couldn’t be relocated. Hereabouts, there is a large about of territory suitable for a Shrike and being a rural under-populated area the bird could be present but remain unnoticed for many days.
The small hamlet of Storiths at the centre of the Shrike's territory.
On the way home over the moors a Buzzard gave a nice view as it soared over Eastby Crags.