Northern Shrike

Yesterday, I took a drive with the dog down to Warren, VT to check out Blueberry Lake where friends of mine are always running into interesting birds.  It was a cold windy day with flurries and I was happy for four-wheel drive in a couple of spots.

The lake, which appears to be a Forest Service impoundment, is very small and snuggles up to the Green Mountain National Forest.  Parking and letting Penny out to roam, I took the scope down to the water and immediately regretted leaving my leather mittens back at the truck.  I was cold and the water was rough from the stiff wind, and the sun glare was awful.  But, I was out birding so big deal.  I did spot five dark objects bobbing around way out there but had no idea what sort of duck they were.

The lake has several access points and as I drove around it, I got to a spot where the light was good, but the wind was straight in my face off the water.  Walking down toward the lake with the telescope, I saw what appeared to be a Blue Jay whiz by me but then I saw it hover in mid-air, like an American Kestrel, with its wings going a mile a minute.  I got the binoculars on it and thought, “That’s not a Blue Jay … perhaps a shrike.”

It flew off to the top of a nearby small tree and through the bouncing scope (from the gusty wind) I could see it clearly.  I snapped off some digiscope shots and then watched it hunt again, using the wind as buffer, and returning to the same branch.  Then it saw the dog and vanished.

A Northern Shrike in snow flurries -- Blueberry Lake, VT.  Vortex Razor HD, 20-60 eyepiece at 20x, Canon SD4000, Vortex DCA & PS100 adapters.

A Northern Shrike in snow flurries — Blueberry Lake, VT. Vortex Razor HD, 20-60 eyepiece at 20x, Canon SD4000, Vortex DCA & PS100 adapters.

I was then able to get a good look at the five ducks and identified three Mallards and two Least Scaup (which are a County Year bird for me — #145), before they flew.  It was only a half hour drive back to Red Hen Bakery for coffee and roll with Mary.  Good morning outing.

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