Northern Shrike (click to see the larger version)
Always exciting to see, I had an immature Northern Shrike on October 13, 2020. We know the bird is immature because of the brownish upperparts and indistinct face mask. Adult Northern Shrikes have gray upperparts, black wings, and a more distinct dark face mask. This is the first Northern Shrike of the season at Montrose. Hopefully, we’ll get more! Link to my eBird checklist for the morning below.
October 13, 2020
Montrose wasn’t quite as birdy (for me) as on Thursday, but it was still pretty good today, October 21. I ended up with 47 species in a little over 2 hours of effort, highlighted by
Baird’s Sandpiper – the continuing juvenile
Semipalmated Sandpiper – the continuing molting first cycle bird
Short-eared Owl – 1 in the dunes
Northern Shrike – 1 in the dunes
Black-throated Blue Warbler – female near the Magic Hedge
Le Conte’s Sparrow – 2 in the dunes
The Northern Shrike was my bird-of-the-day; I haven’t seen one at Montrose in a few years. Maybe this will be a flight year for them. The algae mat continues at the east end of the beach, and it continues to attract shorebirds and ducks. The dominant passerine was Swamp Sparrow.
I had a brief look at a Northern Shrike at Montrose this morning. Northern Shrikes are rare anytime at Montrose so this was a nice surprise. There were also good numbers of typical October birds, including Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Hermit Thrushes.
The most dramatic sighting of the morning was a Red-tailed Hawk being mercilessly harassed and pursued by a group of American Crows. The group name for American Crow is “murder of crows”, and watching this spectacle I can see how this name originated.
I went back out later in the day and found a Snow Bunting on Montrose Beach. Snow Buntings are songbirds that nest in the high arctic all around the world and winter in mid-latitudes. This bird hopped up on a fence post and posed very obligingly for me.