Monday, January 4, 2016

Varied Week But Not Today

This week:

  • Our location was varied - started in Florida, spent the night in Virginia, arrived home in Pennsylvania and spent the day today in New Jersey.
  • Our weather was varied - 86 degrees in Florida but only 33 degrees today. 
  • Our TV watching was even varied - we watched shows that we never heard of before in Florida like "2 Broke Girls" and "Pitbulls and Perolees" (not kidding), then football and our soap opera at home.

The only thing that wasn't varied was my luck chasing the Varied Thrush that showed up right in the Villas about a month ago and has been seen sporadically ever since. The Varied Thrush is a bird from the north and west. Of course, with everything that is going on at home (Connie's broken ankle etc) I haven't been able to go after the bird until today. And of course, with my luck you know how the chase was going to end up.

I met Harvey at 7:30 AM and headed out to Cox Hall Creek to look for the bird. Harvey has seen the bird a few times and agreed to help me find it today.  The last report of the bird stated that it was in the Holly Woods near a Bluebird box. The report said that the bird was seen hanging out with another rare bird - the Red-headed Woodpecker. We spent 2 hours freezing our hands and feet off looking. We finally found a Red-headed Woodpecker but the Thrush could not be found.

Red-headed Woodpecker
By 9:30 we needed warmth and breakfast. Harvey went home to do chores and I headed back to the park to look again. I started to feel better when I found another Red-headed Woodpecker. Again, no Varied Thrush but to my surprise, I stumbled on 4 Bobwhites scurrying up the path in front of me. I managed to snap a few shots before they scattered into the grass. They are so small and so cute. I noticed that some of the quail have white faces and some have tan/beige faces. Turns out that the birds with white faces are male and the beige faces are females. 2 of each in this covey.

I re-found one of the male birds huddled under a bush just off the path.

Still no Thrush so I went to Wawa for a Diet Coke and much needed bathroom break. Back to the park for third try. The wind was really howling all day. So much so that even this Merlin was sitting in the woods instead of on top of a snag like he usually does. Merlins are falcons and should be used to the wind, but today was too much for this guy. He really liked watching Peanut running around below him. Good thing Merlins eat birds and not mammals.

I'll cut to the chase - no Thrush. A few other birders were looking for the bird throughout the day without luck either. One guy dipped for the 7th time today. Another missed the bird for the 5th time. I don't feel that bad about not seeing this elusive bird. I hope it hangs around so that I can try to vary my luck.

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