Date: 10/31/20 5:42 pm From: Joel Geier <clearwater...> Subject: [obol] Interesting shrike in northern Benton County
While I was out this afternoon dropping off election materials on doorsteps for the handful of folks around our neighborhood who haven't yet voted, while going up one driveway I saw a SHRIKE that puzzled me.
I had my binoculars along but didn't want to stop and use them while the shrike was in line with the residence -- that could be seen as a very unfriendly to approach a house in a rural neighborhood. On my way out I got another look at the bird but at a bad angle with poor light, so I was left with some uncertainty about the species.
I could see some crenulation on the breast, as for a shrike in juvenal plumage. However the back looked fairly solid gray, as for an adult, and it had a fairly well-developed dark mask (fairly thin and below the eye). My overall sense was that the size and proportions (almost scrub-jay sized, I actually thought about mockingbird at first) were right for a Northern Shrike, and the mask so far as it was developed would fit that identification. The bill also looked fairly long but I never got a good profile view.
If I were Nate Silver, I think I'd give this bird about a 90% chance of being a Northern Shrike, a 9% chance of being a Loggerhead, and <1% chance of being a hybrid. What left me wondering is that this would be a little late into the fall for a young Loggerhead Shrike to be retaining juvenal plumage, but also on the early side for a young Northern to be that far along.
So I'll try to find the bird again tomorrow, hopefully viewable from a public road where I can give the location. Where it was today, you'd have a hard time seeing it without driving up the same private driveway.
-- Joel Geier Benton County Precinct 22 Camp Adair area north of Corvallis