Tillamook County is the home to four different members of the thrush family. The American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is the most common, and as such this beautiful bird often doesn't get the respect that it deserves. Juveniles are spotted and can be confusing. The Varied Thrush (Ixoreus navius) at first glance looks similar to a Robin. However, in these beauties note the rust colored bold supercilium (eye stripe) and wing bars in both sexes and the dark black "necklace" in the males. They are present in the fall and winter in our area. Swainson's Thrushes (Catharus ustulatus) are a summer visitor, arriving when the salmon berries ripen. They are more often heard than seen, with their distinctive pwip call and their ethereal fluting, smooth, rising song. A similar appearing bird, only present in late fall and winter, is the handsome Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus). These birds have a complete white eye ring and a reddish tail. Like the Swainson's, these birds can be secretive, but will show themselves well at times. Can you identify the images below? Photos by Michael Krall
The seasons keep rolling along, and with them, the birds. Sadly, just in the last few days we’ve noticed that the “whit” and song of the Swainson’s Thrush has vanished from around our home in Netarts. We miss awakening to this sure sign of summer. On the other hand, shorebirds are on the move. Yesterday we saw some 30 Least Sandpipers in Bay City. A Baird’s Sandpiper has shown up in the county, as have Wandering Tattlers. The Brown Pelicans are numerous in the bays, with their orderly flights and their amazing plunges. Our feeders have been very busy. Yesterday we had American Goldfinch, Black-headed Grosbeak, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, House Finch, Band-tailed Pigeon, Hairy Woodpecker, Red Crossbill, Steller’s Jay (including a young one still sporting a gape and brownish back and shoulders), and both Anna’s and Rufous Hummingbirds. Turkey Vultures, Great Egrets, Crows, and Bald Eagles flew overhead. Speaking of Bald Eagles- the nest that has been present and successful in the tall fir just north of the Whisky Creek shellfish hatchery for several years unexpectedly blew down sometime this early summer. Fortunately, the eaglet fledged successfully before that happened. I am curious whether the nest will be rebuilt. I certainly hope so.