Sunday, May 21, 2006

Backyard Gray-cheeked Thrush!

Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting at our deck enjoying the great weather and reading Weidensaul’s latest book, when a flash of white caught my eye from underneath the spruce trees in our backyard. I always keep a pair of binoculars close by and quickly discovered an actively foraging Gray-cheeked Thrush. I could hardly believe it! I picked up the cordless and called Jesse Peterson:


Jesse: "Hello?"
Mike: "Hey, I've got a Gray-cheeked Thrush in my backyard right now."
Jesse: "Get out!"
Mike: "No, seriously."
Jesse: "I'm coming over!"


Jesse only lives a few blocks away and was over in a minute. We were able to study the thrush and observe salient fieldmarks. However, after posting the find to the Wisconsin Birding Network, Tom Schultz mused, “Now, how do you know it's not a stray Bicknell's?” I guess he has a point, but nobody would ever ask that question if they had merely reported a sighting without a photograph. After looking at a few Bicknell's Thrush images on-line, it seems they have a slight eye-ring toward the back of the eye.

Anyway, it was an interesting day for backyard birds. Some highlights of 22 bird species include Baltimore Oriole, Mourning Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Gray-cheeked Thrush image © 2006 Mike McDowell

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