Shrike 1:Take 2 - Harwood Forest at dawn; cool, damp and generally unpleasant, although better than last year's Great Grey Shrike-quest when it was three hours in the rain and completely sodden (29/3/10). I had a go yesterday afternoon and dipped so this morning, up the forest path and off right towards Redpath so as to cover the east side of the plantation looking west towards the wee, towery thing. No joy!
Off to Tutehill Moss, scene of last year's success, just on the off-chance. Walking north, there is a bit of summit before the road drops down and the Moss is on the left. 150 yds ahead, on the right of the road, is a plantation of 12' conifers in front of a set of much larger pines.
On scanning the shorter trees, voila, the quarry, facing away from me but visible and not photographable. I tried to get nearer, but it dropped down and out of sight, never to be seen again.
But it's there, and waiting for more attention (I was the only one, but two other hopefuls were walking north as I entered the village (it should be a hamlet as it doesn't appear to have a church)).
The path through the woods was alive with Coal Tits, Goldcrests, Chaffinches and Crossbills.
Off to Whittle Dene next for a spot of Smew action (so far, it's G for Great, G for Goldcrest and hopefully S for Smew making this entry's title doubly clever?!?!).
The bird was pretty easily located on the reservoir opposite the Western one, which appears not to be called the Eastern but the Lower Northern. Anyway, the bird flew west and when I left at 12:20 was on the Western Reservoir.
And in the field to the north of the Great Northern Reservoir, a dozen Stock Dove, nicely complementing three Goosanders (2M:1F) and innumerable Teal and Mallard on the water.