Saturday, December 4, 2010
MA - NORTHERN SHRIKE - 12/03
Northern Shrike - brownish toned immature, but exact age uncertain (I'm not sure if its hatch-year?), Gill, Franklin Co., MA. December 3rd, 2010. First three images are digi-bin shots taken using Leica Trinovid 8 x 32 bins and Canon Powershot A1100.
Northern Shrike - brownish toned immature, but exact age uncertain (I'm not sure if its hatch-year?), Gill, Franklin Co., MA. December 3rd, 2010. These two images were just taken using the Canon Powershot A1100 without any other optical aids.
The rugged farmland and rough pasture around our new home in Gill always looked perfect for a wintering Northern Shrike. Each day, when ever I was out and about, I'd casually scan the tree tops and birch snags hoping to get to lucky. I'd been a tad disappointed not to see any shrikes at all so far this fall/winter but all that change at noon today. What I didn't expect was to have my 'hoped-for' shrike right outside the kitchen window!! This bird had clearly stooped at our finch flock and sat, as bold as they come, in one of the spindly trees supporting the feeders.
As the bird sat there mild panic ensued. I couldn't find my bins and my camera batteries were firmly planted in the charger and not in the camera! Thankfully, this gift from the North graced the yard for about four minutes allowing me enough time to get a handful of digibin shots before it slithered away not to be seen again.
Talk about the 'element of surprise'! I last saw Northern Shrikes at Nome airport in Alaska in June and could hardly have imagined at that point that the next one I would see would be right outside the kitchen window. Birding is amazing.