Date: 3/11/18 2:03 pm From: Howard Wu via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [Va-bird] "Sully Shrike" -- YES, and other notes
I went to Sully Woodlands 2 times on this day: first at 9AM. This was on my way to another place and I was in a hurry. The "Sully Shrike" (Northern Shrike) was a no-show, but then again, I did not have much time to look. A Fox Sparrow made a cameo in the tree beside the stable, though.
I made another stop just past noon. This time I had a little more time to comb the field. But, after 20 minutes or so, I did not find the shrike. Just when I was about to leave, I took one last look over the field before I left. There it was! The "Sully Shrike" was perched on top of a small tree in the field west of the burnt field. I walked a little closer (but still kept a respectful distance) and snapped a few pictures. It hopped to the ground, likely hunting some insects or other small animals, then flew to the same perch or another one, repeating a few times. It eventually flew to a tree in the burnt field, then to the telephone/power wire in front of the stable. There, it posed beautifully for me, and I got some good shots. It then flew to a tree beside the stable, then to the field. I did not pursue and left it in peace.
I was pretty happy with this encounter. It seems to me that the "Sully Shrike" is more elusive and jittery this year, and prior to today, the last eBird sighting was by me on Feb. 27 (but I understand not everyone uses eBird). I went there a couple more times between then and now and this was the first time I saw it. You can see my rolling log here:
On other notes, yesterday (Sat. March 10) I went to Huntley Meadows in the afternoon. Two Tree Sparrows were doing some aerial combat (mock combat?) over the wetland, FOS for me. There were also a pair of lingering Green-winged Teals, among other waterfowl.
At dusk on the same day I went to the Hike and Bike Trail section of Huntley Meadows to wait for the Woodcocks at the "First Meadow" (the one closest to the junction of the main trail to the spur to the parking lot). Unfortunately, I did not see or hear even a single one. I don't know if the big group had better luck or not at the other meadow. My totally subjective theory is that the "bomb cyclone" probably dispersed some of the Woodcocks that arrived earlier and they are harder to find after that.