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Northern Shrike at INWR

Published October 21, 2015
Tags: Parks and Preserves, Rusty Blackbird, Northern Shrike, Wilson's Snipe, Marsh Wren, Swamp Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird, Yellow-rumped Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

After assisting Celeste with a waterfowl survey today, I meandered back around Ringneck Marsh in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge (INWR) to see if anything had shown up since surveying the marsh in the early morning hours.

The only reason I wanted to go back was because last year, almost to the day, I found a couple of Greater White-fronted Geese and a Northern Shrike there.  So - because you just never know - I figured it was worth a try!

Well, I didn't find the geese, but, thanks to a Downy Woodpecker, I found the shrike.  I noticed the woodpecker flying across the road behind the marsh - and then saw it veer off its path into another direction.  I thought it strange and looked around as to what would have caused it to change course so dramatically. Directly in its original path, on a fairly distant and mostly bare tree, I saw a lone bird perched near the top branch.  Shrike?  Binoculars seemed to prove it - photos confirmed it.  I got out the scope just to be sure before reporting it.

Yes, it was a lovely Northern Shrike - a sure sign that winter is on its way - ugh!  BUT, since this is one of my very favorite birds, I wasn't going to let this sign of the season get me down.  I watched this very cool bird for nearly a half an hour before rushing home to get ready for a BOS lecture on the Birds of Paradise down at the Science Museum, which I JUST made in the nick of time!

Not only was it a gray day, but the photos of the shrike are distant, making for some poor photos. A couple of the marsh birds didn't turn out too badly, so I'm including some of those taken earlier in the day while surveying the marshes.
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Rusty Blackbirds were everywhere!
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...rusties in the air
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...rusties in the trees
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...and rusties in the marshes
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Swamp Sparrow
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Marsh Wren
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Two Wilson's Snipe - we saw and heard at LEAST 8 of them
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Solo snipe flying overhead
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Yellow-rumped Warbler
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Northern Mockingbird
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Northern Shrike
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Northern Shrike