Date: 3/11/18 4:45 pm From: Dixie Sommers via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: Re: [Va-bird] "Sully Shrike" -- YES, and other notes
Thanks for your report, Howard. Very nice photos of both the Northern Shrike and the Fox Sparrow.
One reason the Shrike may be more jittery is human disturbance. I visited Sully Woodlands on February 18, and my first encounter was a guy flying a drone. I believe this disturbed our bird. When I walked down to the meadow I saw the Shrike moving around and eventually flying to the far north end of the meadow and perching on the highest trees. This is not the usual type of shrike perch, as they like lower perches from which they can hunt. After the drone guy left, it came back to the more usual area and perched on a short tree in the meadow.
I contacted Fairfax County Park Authority about the drone. The prompt response included the statement that " Under Park Authority regulations, flying a drone or other remotely controlled aircraft within the parks is prohibited unless approved of in writing by the Park Authority." Areas where drone use is approved have clear signage.
The message also included " To report unauthorized drone use, please contact the Fairfax County Police Department. If there is an immediate safety risk, call 911, or if a non-emergency, 703-691-2131. The Park Authority relies on the Police Department to enforce its park regulations." So if you see someone flying a drone in a Fairfax County park, please call.
Also, those of us who are photographing this bird should think about not going after more photos if we already have good images.
Dixie Sommers Alexandria
-----Original Message----- From: va-bird <va-bird-bounces+dixiesommers=<cs.com...> On Behalf Of Howard Wu via va-bird Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2018 5:04 PM To: <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.