Julie McCall reports: "I saw the shrike Friday from 11:45 til about noon, squabbling with a mockingbird (and a downy woodpecker, of all things), and singing like nobody's business, close enough to watch without my binoculars."
For her extended report, including a mention of a cane she found, click "Continue reading…" immediately below.
Julie writes: I arrived on Disposal Road today and not seeing any sign of the shrike, parked myself on the blue seats next to the Carillon. (If you have been birding in the area recently and have misplaced your black walking cane there has been one laying across the seats since at least last Saturday.)
I spent some time watching a harrier that was seemingly on the prowl, and then heard a bit of a ruckus near the retention pond at 11:45am. I was surprised to see that there were three birds involved in a squabble: the northern shrike, a mockingbird, and… a downy woodpecker. The woodpecker gave up pretty quickly and flew off toward the path that turns into the Transco Trail. The mockingbird hung around another minute and then grudgingly flew off. And the shrike perched in a tree and spent a good amount of time singing. Loudly.
After about ten minutes, the shrike set off in pursuit of the mockingbird again, who was trying to make its way back to the area. The shrike chased it to another tree, and when the mockingbird then perched on top of one of the flagpoles, scolding, the shrike eventually chased it off again. The shrike spent some time hanging out in trees on the (island? sandbar?) that separates the Carillon area from the rest of the teal pool, and i snapped a few photos (that belong on that website "bad photos of good birds".)
At 12:00, the bells started, and after a few bars the shrike flew off.
On my way out on Disposal Road, I saw small falcon flying around in close proximity to a northern harrier. I'm accustomed to seeing kestrels on this road, but Chris Takacs reported a merlin in the area
yesterday, and i couldn't get a close enough look at this bird to make positive ID.
It landed on top of one of the towers, and while I stood around waiting for it to do something helpful (such as take off, descend, and land 20 feet away so I could identify it — ha!), a red-tailed hawk flew in and landed lower on the same tower.
Also seen: white-throated sparrows galore, a small flock of cardinals, dark-eyed juncos, buffleheads, northern pintails, mallardscanadageesemuteswans, and other usual suspects.