Here is a small poem I wrote in March of 2010. It relates to the arrival and short visit of the Great Grey Shrike, which in most years visits Hutton Roof in Cumbria. I get so much pleasure from watching the habits of this bird, even the way in catches its prey eg: catching voles, mice, lizards and beetles. and the way it then impales them on the local hawthorns or blackthorns which are its temporary larder. Please enjoy this piece:-
GREAT GREY SHRIKE
On Hutton Roof I search for thee,
Up here you are elusive and free.
Sometimes you leave that hawthorn perch,
For beetle, fly or insect search.
It is so grand to sit and watch,
You stop mid air and flutter,
Whilst prey goes past, for you to catch,
No sound of joy you utter....
Each time I try to get close to you,
Before long your up and away,
You watch over me, like I over you,
Fair distance is kept at bay.
Will you be here tomorrow, my friend,
Or will you have flown the Roof,
Whichever way, I'll wish you well,
Until the next time, Farewell, Farewell.
No Shrikey, No Likey !
(7th March 2012 – In search of the Great Grey Shrike on Hutton Roof,
Cumbria. Last years date of arrival was 7th March 2011)
Give him a chance,
Its very early days yet,
And I bet he's on the way,
So any day now!
He’ll sit proud on top of that tree,
The same tree as last year,
It sticks up high into the sky,
And forks quite near the top.
This is the spot from where he looks down,
Before he swoops to catch his prey,
A vole or lizard or beetle be,
Whichever comes first beneath that tree.
He has his larder somewhere near,
A spikey Haw or Blackthorn Tree,
Where he impales his valued food,
And that’s the “Butcher Bird” for you.