Good Birding at the Grasslands, 01/21/17

~Northern Harrier in good light, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~

After an uneventful morning of birding under gray skies, the clouds lifted in the early afternoon and I decided to head to Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge. I felt that I was arriving a little bit late to be able to get a photo blind, but as luck would have it, the closest north blind was still vacant and I grabbed it. Northern Harriers were plentiful and offered many photo ops, some of which I took advantage of, and some, well, not so much. American Tree Sparrows were heard more than seen, but I did finally get a bird that sat up for me for a few pics. The highlight of the day, however was when I saw a NORTHERN SHRIKE perched on a distant bush. I snapped off a few photos just before the bird flew and I was unable to relocate it. I had this bird back in November but was unable to get any photos, and it has been reported intermittently since then. I found out when I left the blind that other birders had seen the bird briefly as well. Also exciting, the Short-eared Owls got up early enough for some halfway decent photos and really great looks. On my way out, I ran into many birders that I know and it was good to shoot the breeze and catch up with several of them in the parking area. Good birding at the Grasslands!

~Ha! I finally got a shot of a NORTHERN SHRIKE! A distant and noisy shot, but I’ll take it. Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~
~Beautiful bird. Northern Harrier perched at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~
~Going down for prey, NOHA at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~
~Northern Harrier coming at the blind, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~
~American Tree Sparrow at Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~
~A perched Short-eared Owl watches a high flying Northern Harrier, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~
~Short-eared Owl in flight, Shawangunk Grasslands NWR, 01/21/17.~

10 thoughts on “Good Birding at the Grasslands, 01/21/17”

  1. Great shots Matt
    I love the light on the Tree Sparrow.
    Now that I have a juvenile Shrike, it would be amazing to get an adult.
    It is great to be home, and now I’m up for birding again.


  2. Love the photos Matt. I was there today also and got the Northern Shrike around 4:30 pm. Real thrill for me (only my 3rd ever). Can’t tell you how many times I’ve chased these buggers and was thrilled to get such a great look this afternoon.

    1. Thanks, Scotty. I saw you at the refuge from inside the blind. The shrike was a thrill for me as well, although I wish I’d gotten a longer/better look. That’s one tough bird. Matt

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