Sunday, February 11, 2018

Northern shrike sighting!

Northern shrike sighting!  We drove up Blacksmith Fork Canyon this morning, looking for wildlife.  We spotted about a bazillion deer, mainly up the snow-free slopes high above us.  Behind the Hardware Ranch visitor center we also spotted six elk about 200' from us – the only elk we saw on the entire trip.  The herd at Hardware Ranch, we read, has left to follow the snow line up higher.  Presumably if it does get cold again, they'll be back (for the free hay dispensed at Hardware Ranch).  We also read that the moose prefer to stay above the snow line, which may explain why we've only had one sighting so far this winter.

The highlight of the trip, for me at least, was spotting a northern shrike strutting on a fence post roughly a mile east of Hardware Ranch, right along the road.  That's not my photo at right, but the bird we sighted looked very much like this one.  It's a migratory species, and this one was here for our warm winter! :)  It probably came down from either Alaska or the Hudson Bay area.  They're not a common bird at all, so I cherish the sighting of it.  He popped up on a fence post as we were looking at some deer high on a hill a half mile or so behind him – it was just plain luck that we saw him at all...

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