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
 
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