Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flash of orange.

A very rare sighting yesterday at Paulik Park (apart from blue sky) was a Varied Thrush perched in plain view on a branch at eye-level. I had just enough time to raise my camera and snap a picture of its vanishing tail (arrow).

The bird then went into classic VATH mode, flying a short distance into dense foliage and looking back nervously over its shoulder. It flew further, and I lost sight of it.

I went back to the park today and quickly found one, and then two, males feeding on holly berries. As usual, they offered only brief, partially obstructed views.

This is, by the way, two VATHs more than I saw during the entire winter last year. (Here they tend to be winter birds, arriving at lower elevations after the early mountain snows.)

This one is dangerously close to providing a chance for a decent photo. Lucky for him, the light was poor.

I'll be back, birds.


Victoria said...

Ooh lovely! I remember there was a varied thrush that would sing outside my window when I was younger. I never knew what it was until years later. I hope that I will see one in the wild one day too!

randomtruth said...

Interesting - they do the same in the Sierra Nevada around Yosemite - they show up about now and overwinter and then leave after the snow. Got pics of them for the first time last year with a gang of jays, woodpeckers, quail and towhees foraging under some oak trees. Wonder where they are the rest of the year?

Hugh said...

Victoria, They are very interesting birds. It was nice to discover them when I moved here after spending my early years birding in the east.

RT, In BC, a lot of them breed at higher elevations (throughout the province). In the Vancouver area their numbers peak after snow starts accumulating, usually in Dec-Jan.

randomtruth said...

Ah - cool. They probably do that here too. Our place is at 3,000, so they probably come down from the higher elevations in Sierra Nevada. Maybe around first freeze or snow... I'll keep my eyes open to see!

Urban Wild said...

Alas! The only shot I've ever gotten has a chain link fence in the way.