|Swainson’s Thrush (photo credit below)|
For the last several weeks, I’ve had sort of a running joke with Chip, the director of the North Branch Nature Center, about the birds he sees while scouting and reports — that we don’t see during the next day’s bird walk. First it was a Black-billed Cuckoo, then a Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, and then a Swainson’s Thrush. He knows that I’m kidding but it was neat yesterday, when we saw the Swainson’s Thrush.
It’s been warm and muggy in Vermont and the mosquitos were fierce during yesterday’s walk — even after we doused ourselves with industrial-strength repellant. There were a lot of birds around and we saw a few Lincoln’s Sparrows and Indigo Buntings to start things off. Down by the river, there was an influx of sparrows and warblers including a Northern Parula, a Nashville, and a number of Black-throated Greens.
After an hour or so, we backtracked to the community garden where we first had seen a number of sparrows. But leader Chip wanted to take one more look along the path and as he forged ahead, a couple of us saw a bird on a branch at eye level. “It’s a thrush of some kind,” I said as we quietly called for Chip. He immediately called a Swainson’s pointing out the prominent eye ring and the buffy area on the head. I think I would have figured it was a Hermit Thrush but now, having seen one up close (it was very accomodating), I think I’d recognize the next one I encounter — if I do. It was a great bird for the 300th on my list.
photo by defaulder