Friday, November 12, 2010

Shrike!

No bird has a name that sounds more like an exclamation.  And if you were a small bird, mammal, amphibian or a relatively large insect, you would definitely put an exclamation mark behind it.

This bird, whose taxonomy seems to be a lot more complex that it used to be, was seen at Garry Point in Richmond a few days ago, at the slough north of the field where an immature Franklin's Gull was reputed to have been hanging out.  I went to look for the gull with an old birding buddy.  During our late teens we drove all over southern Ontario in search of new and rare birds.   He quickly became one of the best birders I've ever known, with an intuitive sense of where to look, and a knack for picking out the oddball, the exotic. We hadn't seen each other since graduate school, and were spending a fun day driving around the lower mainland, doing exactly what we had done years ago.

We didn't find the gull, and walked a bit farther, along south side of the slough.  That's where my friend said, "This looks like a good spot for a rare bird," which is the sort of thing he would say when we were seventeen years old and a lifer was about to reveal itself.

Fifteen seconds later, "Shrike!"  It flew up from somewhere in front of us and landed in plain view.  Not a lifer nor technically-speaking a rare bird, but always worth a whoop.   It's good to know that some things never change.

1 comment:

KaHolly said...

I am always tickled to come upon a shrike, which isn't often. Great post today!! ~karen