[mou] shrike (again), horned larks

linda whyte birds at moosewoods.us
Sat Mar 1 20:59:08 CST 2008

This afternoon (Saturday), there was a shrike scouting the farm fields at
the intersection of Hwy 56 (Randolph Boulevard) and 302nd St. in Randolph,
Goodhue  County. It perched at intermittent intervals along the telephone
wire, facing first one way, then the other, and moving eastward. At one
point it dropped swiftly to the ground, as though pursuing something, and
disappeared from view. Within several seconds it popped back into
sight---apparently "empty-handed"---and perched right beside the highway on
a tall weed stalk. It then resumed its wire-hopping, with short sorties over
the field, in an undulating flight pattern, with brief bursts of
wing-flutter, that seemed reminiscent of woodpecker movement. Close by on
the same road (302nd), there were horned larks feeding, making forays
between road and field. There was one quick episode of larks seeming to
dodge something, but we never did confirm that the shrike was after them.
The many horned larks we encountered further east seemed be in a safer
position, however.

On the way home we were called by Laura Coble, who was at Frontenac Park.
She had spotted 6 swans sunning on the ice by a small patch of open water on
the Wisconsin side (I think) of the river. We spent some time observing them
in our scopes, and were gratified that a few of them finally untucked their
heads from their wings and stretched out those long necks!

Linda Whyte
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