Thursday, December 3, 2015

MA - first Northern Shrike

Inspired by thoughts of recent Townsend's Solitaires, I had a spin around some areas of Bernardston, MA and Guilford/Vernon, VT hoping to find some suitable areas to check. The end result was desperately quiet but the drive home had a nice treat in store as I spotted a Northern Shrike 'teed' up on a low bush between farm buildings in Northfield. It didn't stay long and soon got flushed by the farmer as he drove close to the shrike in his truck.

I wasn't expecting a shrike to be perched quite so low, or quite so close to habitation and I very nearly passed it off as a Northern Mockingbird but there was a warmness to the breast tones that forced me to stop the car and take a look......I was glad I did!

Northern Shrikes are partially irruptive winter visitors to Massachusetts but this fall/winter does not seem to be especially good for them and I've seen very few reports in the state so far. Northfield and Gill however, seem to be pretty consistent areas to look for them and I usually discover one or more each winter.

No comments: