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Varied Thrush in NYS and a Barred Owl

Published April 25, 2015
Tags: General Observations, Varied Thrush, Barred Owl, Pine Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush, Caspian Tern, Broad-winged Hawk

I chained myself to my desk this past Saturday, needing to complete a few work projects. It was a sunny day and it was killing me to stay in - but I must do what I must do!  Finally, after finishing up as much as I could do for the day, I decided I had enough daylight left to take a run for a reported Varied Thrush seen up near the Irondequoit Bay area.

The Varied Thrush is a beautiful bird that hails from the west coast. In this case, a female must have gotten blown off course and landed here in NYS!  I've only seen one before, also a female, and it was up in Guelph, Ontario last January (Western Double Hitter).

It only took a few minutes for the bird to show after my arrival, coming to the feeders and yards of a cute neighborhood area. The homeowner and finder of the bird, Candy, was most gracious, allowing people to come into her backyard. The thrush changed position quite often: it would feed at Candy's feeders, it would leave the yard entirely, reappear, and visit other neighboring yards.  It kept the seven or eight of us gathered birders on our toes the whole while. What terrific folks in this community - one woman even offered us lentil soup that she had made during our stakeout!

I was slightly disappointed that this Varied Thrush wasn't a male, but when I saw her, I was once again struck by how beautiful the female is. One day, I think I'll be really amazed when I finally do see a handsome male!

Yesterday, I birded hard with my friend, Gale, in Dunkirk. We walked miles through a great area with interesting habitats at the College Lodge SUNY.  Photos were few as the forest was dark and the birds were mostly high - but we had some great sightings: WARBLERS! We saw Black-throated Blue, Black-throated Green, Yellow-rumped, Northern Waterthrush, and Pine Warblers. There were several Hermit Thrushes that came our way as well as both kinds of kinglets. At a nearby marsh, we heard both Sora and Virginia Rail. Altogether, including my stops at the harbor and beach, I had somewhere around 60 species for the day. I think I fell asleep somewhere around 8:30 that night!

After work on this rainy day, I decided to take a drive to see if I couldn't drum up some warbler sightings. Not surprising, I didn't find any warblers - well, maybe I heard a Pine Warbler in the background - under the din of some mobbing crows - but I quickly lost interest when I saw a large, light brown'ish bird fly through. Wow - a Barred Owl flew right into my view. It landed in a nearby tree and I watched as it lurched forward on its branch at one of the crows, keeping that crow at bay. After a little while, the crows left but the owl remained for yet a little while longer. Sweet!
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Varied Thrush
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Banded Caspian Tern at the Dunkirk Harbor
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Caspian Tern
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Pine Warbler (very poor photo - sorry!)
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Yellow-rumped Warbler
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Hermit Thrush
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Broad-winged Hawk
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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Barred Owl
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The harassed owl with one of the pesky crows on the left
Reply from: Candy Giles on 4/29/2015 9:40 PM
 Love your photos!! Today was the first day the varied thrush didn't show. Maybe she went back west:(
Reply from: Ann on 5/5/2015 9:19 AM
 Love the owl. Your pictures are always awesome!