Life Bird #300 — Swainson’s Thrush

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

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