Sunday, February 5, 2017

Saving Shrike

In a sudden turn of events the sun won the war for the day and indeed, Mother Nature and a certain feathered friend enticed me outdoors after a serious "Debbie Downer" start to the day..

Back to Goose Lake Drumlins State Natural Area I went looking for that endearing Northern Shrike.

Northern Shrike, Goose Lake Drumlins SNA, Dane Co (WI), 5Feb2017
As soon as I rounded the hill I spotted the shrike atop one of its favorite perches. I quickly scrambled back to the car to fetch my digiscoping gear since this would afford me greater reach than my 400mm lens. Ugh, not sure if turbulence or my failing vision was a factor, but once again I failed to get sharp images. Another day...

Similar to last time, the bird hunted in a loose circular territory around the parking area drumlin. I found it rather fascinating to observe its various flight styles. Sometimes it torpedoed deliberately toward prey, other times it glided to another prominent perch and twice I observed it glide and almost free fall like a leaf, gracefully down into some dense shrubs.

The hunting must be productive near the parking area considering the marsh is quite vast and yet the bird seems to favor the area near this particular drumlin. Lucky for me since access to this show is quite convenient! The bird was successful in capturing prey today. However, I was not quick enough nor keen enough to discern where it hunkered down for its meal. Once it flew out of sight with its prey, I figured the shrike show was over for the day. I searched for about fifteen minutes when low and behold the bird reappeared atop one of its favorite perches. For its encore, the shrike flew from tree to tree finally perching for a considerable period while it surveyed its territory during the last bit of sunlight. I shot some video hoping to capture it horking up a pellet. Almost, but not quite.

(click the gear to change to HD for best viewing)

This bird owns my heart. Once again it saved me from myself and my spiraling despair about the current state of our union. For greater than ninety minutes today, the world felt pretty darn magical. I'll take it!

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