Saturday, March 7, 2009

Snow Buntings and a Shrike

This past Thursday I made the trip out to Parker River midafternoon for some birding. Lately I have been in the mood for new locales, but I had a lousy time at Great Meadows, and knew I could/can depend on Parker River for good birding every visit. But, after tramping through the snow on the Hellcat Marsh trail and coming up empty handed (I probably should have gone for the Dune trail instead), and with the daylight fading, I was getting grumpy. So I got back in my car and started back up the road, following the 25 mph refuge speed limit. I scanned the trees as I drove, and all of a sudden:
BRAKES. Check rear view, whew, good, no one behind me! Put car in reverse.....return to the ideal photo-op spot, put car in park. Um, not in a bad mood anymore! There was a Northern Shrike perched atop a tree at the side of the road, quite close by, and he hung around letting me snap his picture for a few minutes. I was thrilled. I saw my lifer Northern Shrike in December at Parker River doing the CBC as you may recall, and although I got great views through the scope, my photos came out somewhat lacking because of the distance. I am pleased to say that this time I got plenty of nice pictures.
The shrike did fly off after a bit, though. I continued down the road towards the park entrance with a considerably improved mood, and decided to park in Lot 1 and check out the beach briefly. Right after parking, I noticed a group of birds flitting around the road and since I didn't recognize their calls at all, decided to get a closer look.
Hurray! Snow Buntings!! I've been wanting to see these fellows for some time now, and I found them quite handsome. So, a lousy day turned into a great one. There's always a chance the day will end up changing in your favor if you're just patient.....

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