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Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Hermit Thrush at Bird Song

Published March 23, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Hermit Thrush, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Merlin, Song Sparrow, Mallard, Canada Goose, Eastern Screech Owl, Turkey Vulture

A cold, late afternoon and evening at Bird Song produced a beautiful Hermit Thrush. I heard the bird before I saw it, knowing right away that I was hearing a lifer. When my eyes finally locked on it, "thrush" was my first thought. I wasn't sure which though. I quickly ruled out Wood and Swainson's since this guy had very light spotting on the breast. Beyond that, though, I needed my field guides. Back home, I narrowed it down to a Hermit, his rusty tail locking it in for me. I got confirmation on the ID from an expert birder who also told me that Hermit Thrushes will be moving through our area from now into May and that it's too early for the other thrushes yet.

I had the impression the Hermit Thrush was very timid; this fellow, though, allowed me some nice looks and photos. It was a pleasure to have made his acquaintance!

I also had another lifer today: a Red-shouldered Hawk. I wish I had better photos of that one - distance a factor as he was sitting out in a tree overlooking a farmer's field on Hunter's Creek Road in So. Wales.

Another exciting event of the day was when a Merlin flew up fairly close to me, making his appearance at the end of my Bird Song hike when it was just about dark. (I originally reported this as a Sharp-shinned, but that's been changed due to the input of an expert birder.)

It was a rather eerie place at Bird Song at that late hour. The Merlin quietly flew up to a broken-off tree sitting at the edge of the frozen swamp as a three-quarter moon was rising behind - over to the left. The icy, night air was full of the sound of the Red-winged Blackbirds settling in for the night and as I was standing stock still, not wanting to scare the falcon, I saw a beaver swim under the bridge I was standing on. The whole scene was like something from a movie. I hurried home.

Full list of birds seen today:
Hermit Thrush - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 3
Dark-eyed Junco - 1
Song Sparrow - 2
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Blue Jay - 1
Northern Cardinal - 3
American Robin - 5
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Mourning Dove - 2
European Starling - 8
Red-winged Blackbird - 30 (not exact)
American Crow - 6
Canada Goose - 17
Mallard - 10
LBJ (little brown jobbers / unidentified) - 2
Red-tailed Hawk - 4 (1 at Bird Song / 3 between Java and So. Wales)
Red-shouldered Hawk - 1 (Hunter's Creek Road, So. Wales)
Merlin - 1
Turkey Vulture - 1
Eastern Screech Owl - 1 (not in the park, but close by)
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Hermit Thrush - a lifer!
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Hermit Thrush
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Hermit Thrush
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Song Sparrow
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A pair of Mallards making the most of their little unfrozen part in the pond!
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Mallards
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Canadian Geese fly-over
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Red-tailed Hawk flies by
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My 2nd lifer, a Red-shouldered Hawk - poor, poor photo!
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A Merlin quietly flew in and threatened the serenity of the marsh as evening was settling-in. It's another poor photo, but reader, Dave, was able to ID him as a male.
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Red-winged Blackbird
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Red-winged Blackbirds settle-in for the night