Date: 5/7/20 2:25 am
From: Frank Enders (via carolinabirds Mailing List) <carolinabirds...>
Subject: L.Shrikes continue: 3 prs @
Since April 30, no shrike seen at Ridgecrest Road.

Poplar Lane nest occupied at times,and almost every driveby bagged a sighting. Curiously not even one shrike to be seen at noon on 5/6, but the pair at 1PM. The female on nest, the male within sight of her.
It would seem the probability of spotting a shrike goes up when there is a nest (duh),but the pair keeping company elsewhere can lead to a miss.

Due to a walk through the magic forest for the grandchild on 5/3, there seem to be 2-3 pairs of shrikes at that prime (under painfully slow development) real estate which is the Roanoke Rapids theater site (a "Hail Mary pass" or boondoggle burdening the RR taxpayers). This has largely grown up to good habitat for (winter) harrier (no Short-ear yet) and Prairie Warbler, meadowlark, etc.
Shrikes were here before RR annexed the land from Weldon, and traffic is not just minimal, but also slow--less roadkill expected. Protection from high-speed traffic may be significant for this species.
Two broods of Killdeer were using the parking lots on 5/3. And large white Red-tailed Hawk chicks were present on the east side in one of the tallest adjoining trees---that would seem to explain why I saw a Red-tail almost every trip earlier in spring (again,duh,but nice to see the downy chicks).

Supposed 3 pairs:
There are two shrikes along the power lines southeast, as one pulls off NC 125 into the theater property; no nest, but the birds may really be in the trailer court southeast,off the property.
A single shrike, seen only once, 5/6, is about 0.2 miles straight north. It also perhaps nests off the property near adjacent trailers. Or, it may be related to the several unused shrike nests seen in plantings of Bradford pear just west of this straight road which goes to Wallace Fork Road and the RV park. A shrike or two have been seen there for several years, but with disappointingly low probabilities--probably hiding at the trailer homes!
The third supposed pair is in front of the theater. Birds seen both 5/3 and 5/6. Nest may be in 50' magnolias or in scrub (plum, post oak, poison ivy, blackberry, etc.) between theater and I-95.
There is a barbed wire fence separating the theater from I-95. I won't drive 20 mph on I-95 to check,but someday one may see a shrike on that fence.

A singing Song Sparrow just south of the property is in usual habitat for the isolated Roanoke Rapids population; extensive azalea plantings This bird is perhaps the only one east of I-95 here. The isolated Emporia,VA population straddles I-95. There, the outlying bird on Low Ground Road was miles from town, but with azaleas.

I cannot speak to shrikes just across the Virginia border. Used to be one near Barley. With global warming, why not more up there?

I AM heartened by so many shrikes at theater, after fearing for the "now you seem them, now you don't" shrikes of Halifax County, NC.

Frank Enders, Halifax, NC

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