Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Great Grey Shrike on Longridge Fell, Lancashire

Yet another Great Grey Shrike has arived in this small area of Lancashire countryside. Today, the bird was hunting in recently-felled evergreen woodland on the fell-side about 8 km west of Easington. That is where another shrike was seen on Sunday at almost the same time as this one (also see an earlier posting below).

The terrain on the fell here is a tangled mass of fallen branches and scattered tree stumps and is consequently difficult to walk over. This, and the lack of cover, resulted in views which were rather too distant for good photography; the very poor light was also a problem. During tree-felling, the foresters had deliberately left standing a few scattered spikey dead trees for use as raptor perches and it was from the tips of these that the shrike did its hunting. No raptors were in evidence today but two Mistle Thrushes attempting to use the perches were soon chased away by the shrike. Grubs and voles whose runs have been exposed in the recently-torn earth were presumably an excellent source of prey.

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