Monday, January 19, 2015

The Thing About Varied Thrushes, Part 3

This is getting ridiculous, seeing Varied Thrushes at every turn. Just today, I see two more, for cryin' out loud. The first one this morning, in the Oak tree in the side yard while trolling for wrens and warblers. A few months back, a Varied Thrush landed on the ground nearby, which hugely excited me at the time, but in six years I have never seen one in the tree. Until this morning when one lands on a branch, motionless for several seconds. Surely if I run to fetch my camera, he'll be gone lickety-split, but he was still striking a noble pose when I returned to snap, snap, just in time before off he flies.

Later on, tramping up and down unnamed knolls in the Berkeley Hills, places you'd never once think of visiting or find alluring. . .if it weren't for the pursuit of the birds that inhabit such places. Rarely, if ever, will you find a human being in these off-the-radar but right under your nose kind of places so close to popular roads and trails. If you're not a birder, though, there's "nothing there." Today, I spot Anna's Hummingbirds madly zipping about and a barely ID'd Red-breasted nuthatch busy at work, high up. Vultures and hawks circling, a leery Spotted Towhee dashing. Jay screeching. Golden-crowned Sparrows heavily feeding. Mind-blowing new perspective on Tilden Park's Big Springs Hills and Vollmer ridge.

I'm about to call it a day, when I catch sight of, that's right - ANOTHER VARIED THRUSH flying into thick brush. I cop a good look, but am unable to get a photo of the final bird to tick off my list today. Another Varied Thrush! With them being spotted in abundance everywhere, where previously they were rarely spotted, it makes me wonder how the species has managed to re-establish itself in the Berkeley Hills environs this season, how it's able to successfully re-assert a ubiquitous presence after such a long absence, or why in the first place they left and after years of being away decided to return. Who knows?

To see a Varied Thrush, the once elusive bird, no longer quickens my pulse or excites me in that tingly way when you see a bird rarely if ever spotted. While the thrill is not gone, I do my best to drum up some excitement still for the pretty brush thrush. Also, keeping in mind Gambolin' Gal's wise counsel: "Like all things, when new are fascinating, then become routine and commonplace to the point we hardly notice them anymore. Don't let your Varied Thrush become that, let them remain fascinating and wonderful no matter how many times one flitters into your purview."

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