[Tweeters] Loggerhead Shrike, Ellensburg
walter.szeliga at gmail.com
Sat Dec 24 18:49:05 PST 2016
Pretty cold morning (17ºF) this morning (12/24). I headed out to look for the Red-shouldered Hawk, but failed to relocate it. I’ll admit that I didn’t walk most of the Woodhouse Loop WDFW land, I mostly birded from the road. Next stop was Helen McCabe, at the northern entrance to the Yakima River Canyon. Near the parking lot, I spied a flock of White-crowned Sparrows. While watching these sparrows, a Shrike appeared mid-way up one of the Cottonwoods. It did a good job of sneaking up on everyone and then spent the next minute sniping at sparrows and finches and chickadees while cruising less than two feet above the ground. I got great looks at ~15 ft when it perched in a low shrub and contemplated its next attack. The mask was thick, completely encompassing the eye. The bill was all dark and not noticeably hooked, and the breast of the bird was clear gray, with no streaking or mottling. The field marks plus the low swooping shrub-to-shrub flight behavior all suggest Loggerhead Shrike. If that’s the case, this bird might stick around the area.
As a heads up to those traveling to the Yakima River Canyon from farther off, there is a new BLM pass required at all BLM parking areas in the Canyon. Apparently it is possible to purchase a year pass at Red’s Fly Shop in the canyon itself, plus a few other places in Ellensburg. As a further note, the sign on the door of Red’s Fly Shop said closed until Feb 19th.
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