I’ve become a proponent of the idea that Eugene Moran WMA in Winsor might now be the most reliable spot in the state for finding Northern Shrikes. Looking at eBird data, it appears that 2004-2005 was the last winter that passed without someone reporting at least one there between November and March. This winter started slowly, with no shrike reports in November or December, but then two in January, three in February, and after a lull of over a month without sightings, two in the final three days of March. There are fewer reports per year there than at Plum Island, but given that the number of birders visiting PI, especially in the winter, is probably 10 to 100 times as many as Moran… Not without reason. Not only is Moran in a much more remote area, and outside of the parking lot can be relatively impenetrable in some winters unless you have skis or snowshoes, but it’s fairly common to bird the place for hours in winter and fail to reach double-digit species; I doubt that this happens at Plum Island very often. Many of the eBird checklists from Moran in winter have fewer than 5 species, but the shrike is often one of them.
I don’t see any reports from there of more than one individual, at least not in the past couple of decades, but on my first visit there in February 2010, I saw one at Moran and then a second about 2 1/2 miles away at the Trustees’ Notchview Reservation.
Of course, the species may have gotten scarcer in and around Moran just as much as it has at Plum Island, except that PI has a much more substantial accumulation of data to prove it.
Actually, just took a closer look at the eBird data. There’s a whole pile of observations entered from the Bird Observer archives, with the location given as the town of Winsor but not the Moran WMA specifically. And several of them do indicate multiple individual shrikes, with a high count of 4, pretty much all from November 2000 through January 2002. After that, only one multiple observation, 2 birds in October 2005. So maybe there is some indication of a decline in shrikes around that area too, or at least of a transitory peak in numbers...
> On Apr 3, 2018, at 1:31 PM, Tom Wetmore <ttw4...> wrote:
> Northern Shrikes used to be very regular all winter on the refuge. There used to be days where I would see as many as three and think little of it. But it is a species that, like many others, seems to dropping precipitously in numbers. Thinking back I don't believe I had seen a shrike on the refuge over the past three winters.
> Tom Wetmore