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A Northern Mocking Bird, Northern Shrikes, and a Red-headed Woodpecker

Published January 16, 2014
Tags: General Observations, Red-headed Woodpecker, Northern Mocking Bird, Northern Shrike, Snowy Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian-collared Dove, King Eider, Long-tailed Duck, White-winged Scoter

It was great birding today up near Lake Ontario. Celeste Morien, Willie D'Anna, and I covered a lot of territory and found some great birds.

Celeste's sharp eyes proved the Eurasian-collared Dover is still frequenting the farm up in Hilton, NY. I learned a little more about identifying this pretty dove from Celeste (AFTER I finally laid eyes on it!). I knew, of course, about the collar and I remembered about its overall lighter, more uniform color, but I didn't remember that its tail is wider and has a white underneath. This dove's range is expanding and I hope to see more of these beauties in the future!

We met Willie at Manitou Road, hoping to find the reported King Eiders. Again, Celeste was able to quickly pick out our target birds from a large group of White-winged Scoters, Long-tailed Ducks, and Greater Scaup.  We met Jeannie and Tom, birders local to the area, at this spot and they both gained a life bird after they saw the eiders! After enjoying these rather rare birds from a couple of different vantage points (one of which was the beach area that Jeannie and Tom showed us - where Willie spotted a dark Snowy Owl and some Mute Swans) - we moved on to search for a Red-headed Woodpecker at Hamlin Beach.

Again, within just minutes, Celeste found our bird: a beautiful adult Red-headed Woodpecker! Wow - she's GOOD!  We had great views of the woodpecker as it surveyed the picnic area, or perhaps it was searching for some of its cached food - from its lofty perch. This bird has obviously decided to over-winter here, quite a bit north of its usual winter range.

After that, thanks to some tips from Andy Guthrie that Willie got, we found a Northern Shrike in the area.  As the three of us walked along the road where the shrike was found, we also saw a Northern Mockingbird, White-crowned Sparrows, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Cooper's Hawk, and an American Kestrel.  What a lot of raptors at one spot!

On our way to Point Breeze to look for a Barrow's Goldeneye, Willie spotted a SECOND shrike! We had longer views of this shrike and actually watched it dive after a rodent.

At Point Breeze, we encountered our only strike-out of the day: the Barrow's Goldeneye. We found lots of scaup, Long-taileds, and White-winged Scoters again. But that Barrow's eluded me once again! There was no Snowy Owl here this time either.

Later, at the end of the day and on my own, I stopped by to watch the Short-eareds in Orleans County.  I took a round-about route there and, on the way, I found my second Snowy Owl of the day.  Between this Snowy, the 7 Short-eareds, and the 2 Northern Harriers this evening, it was a very nice way to end a very nice day!
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Northern Mockingbird
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Northern Mockingbird
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Eurasian-collared Dove
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White-crowned Sparrow
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Red-headed Woodpecker
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Northern Shrike
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Northern Shrike
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White-winged Scoter
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A male Hooded Merganser as it swims "into the mouth of the whale" (aptly put by Celeste!)
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Female King Eider
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Female King Eiders
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A pair of Long-tailed Ducks
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Male Long-tailed Duck
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Mute Swan (one of 27)
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Northern Harrier
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owls mixing it up
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owl
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Short-eared Owl