Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thrush Extravaganza

I have to say that I really wanted to title this 'Hydraulic Thrush.' I hope that knowledgeable birders would know what I meant -- the Hermit Thrush. It has a way of raising its tail then lowering ever so slowly, like a pneumatic door closer.

That was my plan. We'd seen numerous migrating Hermit Thrush this weekend at both Militia Hill at Fort Washington State Park on Saturday and at Carpenter's Woods in Philadelphia on Sunday. At least two at each place. I took a lot of photos at Militia Hill. I did a preliminary sketch (at top) this afternoon thinking I'd use it to familiarize myself with them before starting a larger watercolor. But I didn't really have that much time today so decided to do a quick watercolor sketch (above) rather than start a new larger watercolor.

The rest of the post was then supposed to go on about how interesting Hermit Thrushes were in the way that they slowly lowered their tail.

But then reality butted in. There in our small, urban backyard was our first ever spring Hermit Thrush. In fact he's back again right now and I'll need to cut this post short. When thrushes come to visit, you shouldn't ignore them.

Addendum: the Hermit Thrush stuck around last night. I was busy grilling outside until it got dark and every once in a while I'd inadvertently surprise him and scare him into the next yard.

I've been reading both the PA Audubon birding list and ebird for Philadelphia and it's obvious that a lot of Hermit Thrushes have moved through recently. We tend to notice large scale migration when we vacation at places like Cape May, NJ. But it's all the more amazing when you see it right in the city you live in, in the 'normal world' rather the exotic birding vacation world. I think this is one of the most striking aspects of spring: the rhythms of nature on indisputable display.

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