Date: 1/7/18 3:16 pm From: Herb and Sarah Myers <hesemyers...> Subject: Unusual Birds
We went to see Blackwater Falls again today which is almost completely frozen over and quite beautiful. On the way to and from the falls, we tried for the Northern Shrike again without success.
On the way home we decided to walk the boardwalk of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge on Freeland Road. As we walked down the boardwalk, a raptor that we hadn't noticed flushed off a snag in the old beaver pond area and disappeared before we could identify it. At the old beaver pond overlook, a Wilson's Snipe flushed, circled and landed back in the same area, but where we couldn't see it.
In the back part of the refuge, I heard and saw Black-capped Chickadees and a Red-breasted Nuthatch. Suddenly a black bird flew out of the trees, over our heads and landed in a tree over at the beaver pond. I could see the yellowish epaulet across its shoulder. It then flew back to the woodsy area calling like a Red-winged Blackbird, which it was. I was quite surprised.
Then we spotted a raptor perched across the wetlands in a tree in the distance that was likely the one we had seen before. It was too far for me to identify with my binoculars, so I took some photos of it. On putting them in the computer it is clearly a Red-shouldered Hawk. It's banded tail is the clearest thing in the photos.
I think I was the most surprised when I walked in our door and saw a Gray Catbird sitting on our birdbath. I thought I must be hallucinating!! I took a quick photo which confirms it unless the camera was also seeing things. I have never seen one up here in the winter. I so wonder what its history is?
It is now a balmy 18 degrees up here. The sun was welcome. I think the birds where happier, too, especially those that really shouldn't be up here at this time of the year and in the weather we have had the past few days. Herb Myers from Randolph and Tucker Counties