Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 8: A jolly morning with Ryan Brady

Ryan Brady
Ryan Brady
This morning I set out in twilight for Ashland, Wisconsin, to spend the morning with Ryan Brady. Ryan has the distinction of having banded an adult female Northern Shrike in March 2006—a female who has returned to the same territory in Ashland every year since. She is the oldest known Northern Shrike in North America, and I wanted to see her!

Oldest Northern Shrike known in North America
Oldest Northern Shrike known in North America
She was right where Ryan expected her to be. He gave it the old college try to draw her closer or even to be trapped briefly, but she didn't reach her advanced age via stupidity, so was not to be tricked into giving us a closer look. She did spend a bit of time in a shrub where we discovered a food cache, of a rather substantial vole.

Shrike meal--almost definitely a meadow vole
Don't look if you're squeamish! Shrikes get hungry!
Much as I wanted great photos of the oldest known shrike, I didn't want to bother her, so Ryan and I moved on after a while, and he took me to see this lovely female.

Snowy Owl
Ashland Snowy Owl
We spent a bit of time looking for more shrikes (saw a total of 4) and searching for other cool birds, and then moseyed on back to Ryan's DNR office, where we saw White-winged Crossbills, both redpolls, Pileated Woodpecker, and a few other birds. Then he had to get back to work and I started working my way back to Duluth. I stopped at some open water in Ashland where I added Canada Goose, and then spotted a Ruffed Grouse flying across the road in front of me. I stopped at Wisconsin Point's Superior Entry where I managed to get skunked yet again in my search for the Barrow's Goldeneye, but did count exactly 110 very cooperative Common Goldeneyes.

Common Goldeneyes
A flock of 105 goldeneyes swam by at a nice steady pace so I could count each one. Five others swam further out.
All in all, what a splendid day!

New species for year:

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Ruffed Grouse
  3. Mourning Dove (while driving about with Ryan)
  4. Bohemian Waxwing (while driving about with Ryan)
  5. House Finch (while driving about with Ryan)
Year's total now is 47. I'm hoping to hit 50 before I leave town on Sunday.

Miles driven by me: 192. In Ryan's car, we went another 42, so my miles today added up to 134. Year's total miles so far is 134+280= 414.

1 comment:

  1. Exciting! That's cool that the same Shrike returns every year. It's so cool how birds do that.