Posted by: atowhee | March 24, 2022


You seen the images, I’ve seen the images. Today, first time ever, I actually saw the shrike’s real-death abattoir with a vole carcass hanging in a willow along Mill Creek Drive. I was there this morning to help a bird photographer down from Portland try to get his first good image of a Northern Shrike. After we met up it was a full thirty seconds before we found the bird high in a willow, about four feet from a loafing Mourning Dove. The bird was indifferent to us, the light was right, the timing couldn’t have been more convenient.

This bird was…shan’t call it “singing”…delivering a spring monologue. Gurgles, liquid-like gulps, whistles, croaks, syllables we hominids can’t imitate, a long soft-spoken stream of sound. Being the lone shrike for miles around, there was no response. The singing meadowlarks paid no heed, same the male red-wings flapping about in high gear. I may seen the dove actually yawn.

Other finds of interest included migrating Cooper’s Hawk, Lincoln Sparrow, over 100 Violet-green Swallows.

Mill Creek Wetlands, Marion, Oregon, US
Mar 24, 2022. 18 species in 45 minutes

Cackling Goose  X
Northern Shoveler  2
Mourning Dove  2
Turkey Vulture  2
Northern Harrier  1
Cooper’s Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  4
Violet-green Swallow  150
European Starling  X
American Robin  20
Savannah Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  4
Lincoln’s Sparrow  1
Spotted Towhee  1
Western Meadowlark  20
Red-winged Blackbird  50
Yellow-rumped Warbler  3

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