Sunday, November 21, 2010

My Loggerhead Shriek

One day in October as I was walking from the elevator down the catwalk to my condo I spotted a Shrike in the top of the tree in front of my condo. I was thrilled as I stood and watched it just sitting there quietly it appeared to me to be soaking up the last rays of sun. But the truth probably was he was looking with his keen eyesight for a little food before going to sleep for the night. Then I thought can I get to my camera and back out here for a picture. Well the only way to know is to try. So I very quietly open the screen door and walk across the porch and opened the door to the inside of the condo. I raced to get my camera turned it on and removed the lens cover and headed back out side.

The shrike was still there but trying to get a shot proved difficult and then he flew away. I could hear him and it sounded like he was now in the palm tree at the end of the condo, but I couldn't locate him. I looked and look but couldn't find him and he was being very quiet now so I though he was gone. I turned to walk away and caught sight of him out of the corner of my eye flying out of the palm tree. As luck would have it he flew to the corner of the roof on the next condo and I was able to get a few shots before he flew away again, swooping down this time to get a bit to eat.

Now I have seen a shrike here on the grounds before, but sitting on a distant light pole not close enough for a nice shot of. Those times I had to use my binoculars to get a good look and to verify what I was seeing with my naked eye.

One Saturday morning  in October I was sitting at my desk working (where else would I be) when I heard this awful noise. Something was squawking up a storm, I thought something was dying or being killed.  I stepped out on the catwalk to see what this noise was about. It took me some time to locate the source but I did and it was the most handsome Loggerhead Shrike. There he was in his black & grey tuxedo with his little mask looking like he was going to the masquerade ball. I still don't know why he was making that awful noise but it might have something to do with there being two of them (though I didn't know that for sure then). Maybe it is a territorial dispute or perhaps he was tying to attract a mate but isn't a little too early for that? I guess I need to read up on  them. (I did a little reading and they don't mate here in FL)

I did manage a few photos of him that day but he was well ensconced in the trees and the lighting was bad. I believe it was badly overcast that morning.

One Sunday Morning in November I was sitting there having my breakfast thinking I hadn't heard or seen the shrike lately. I was wondering if it was just passing through and had moved on or if it had any thing to do with daylight savings. When I first saw the shrike I would hear it in the morning before I went to work and see it usually on my way home at night. But that didn't last long. Now it is dark when I get home but still I don't see it in the morning either. Maybe he is a late sleeper.

I finished my breakfast and was doing up the dishes when I heard this familiar sound. it was my friend the Shrike. I went out camera in hand and although I could hear him I couldn't see him he was well hidden in the tree leaves. But I was patient and I slowly backed up against the wall and moved myself to the other side hoping to get a better view. This tactic worked well and I got a couple of shots, then he moved out into the open and I got several more shots of this handsome little guy in his grey and black tux with his little black mask...........My shrike.

I still hear him and occasional see him but on weekend mornings only. I think he is here to stay at least for the season. Some times I see both of them on on one light pole and the other on another light pole. I am sure enjoying these two little shrikes and now I will have to see if they come back next year.

I wouldn't be surprised if he likes my little tree so much because of the Bouginvilla that is growing up through the tree. I bet it would make a nice storage area for him. I haven't really tried to find any of his storage.........

A funny thing though is that the Eurasian-collared Doves that usually occupy that tree outside my condo seemed to have disappeared. You think.........................?