Seeing the Muskrat upclose and Northern Shrike returning!

The sky early morning didn't look too promising, so I decided to switch up my daily routine and biked to the dyke after breakfast. And what a rewarding decision!

The clouds were thick and heavy in the morning. It turned better in the afternoon, but I was already tired from the morning bike ride.

Whoa! When I biked to the wooden lookout at the Terra Nova Natural Park, this Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) was right underneath it - enabling me to take these great closer-than-usual images. Thankfully, it didn't seemed to notice me for a while. Such a beautiful looking creature.

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)

Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus)
Munching on grasses. Yum.

Panorama View of Snow Geese
Snow Geese are still around. This is a panormaic view. Not too many birds, I guess.

Pink flowers.

Near the slough, I came across a pair of shy Killdeers (Charadrius vociferus) calling out loudly. Not the time yet to see them do their nest-protecting strategy (as witnessed by Hugh of Rock Paper Lizard), maybe in a month or two.

Across from the field from where the Killdeers flew to, I noticed a lone bird perched on the top of the tree. It certainly doesn't look like a Red-winged Blackbird or an European Starling, and it had a much longer tail. Then I realized it was a Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor)! It had been a while since I saw it last time back in Christmas holidays. And this time, I have a much powerful camera to document its beauty.

Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor)

Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor)
This bird didn't seem to be in a hunting mode as it stayed on a tree for quite a while. Meanwhile, several Chickadees were quite nervous on nearby trees, as this is a predatory songbird looking to hunt small birds, mammals, and insects.

Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor)
It actually sang a song for a bit. It sounded like water trying to come off the tap but with water is turned off - warbling with squeaky notes.


It drizzled for a tiny bit when I was about to go home. But the weather turned out better in the afternoon. Nevertheless, today was definitely a rewarding day. Some other things that I saw but didn't/couldn't photograph were: flying swallows, hummingbirds hanging around blackberry trees, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk being harassed by crows and jays.


Cicero Sings said...

You sure are turning out some great pictures ... and finds! You see more down there than we do up here. Critters are so skittish up here (and with good reason) that one can hardly get close.

Hugh said...

Nice shrike! And singing too. I'll have to keep an eye (and ear) out for it.

PSYL said...

Thank you both. I guess animals here are more used to humans, so they aren't as skittish. And Hugh, the Shrike is still around. I just saw it again today.

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