Monday, January 10, 2011

Varied Thrush (Ixoreus naevius) = Yes!

What a great weekend. I didn't add lots of birds but what I added was important. Best of all was the Varied Thrush near Waterloo. It was quite a day for one bird (though I got two more on route).

I left the house at 10am, much to the dismay of my two children, Shepard and Georgia. It's always tough to leave the house while they are wailing that they don't want me to go. My mother has since informed me that they forgot about me within moments of me leaving. I wonder if she's just trying to make me feel a little less guilty. It was an hours drive into Toronto to drop my wife at a friend's and pick up my cameraman. Then another 2 hours to the location where the bird was. It was pretty easy to find thanks to some directions I got from a birding hot line.

We got the camera set up and waited. We filmed a little of me talking about the bird. We filmed a few sparrows and chickadees eating. Then, suddenly, it arrived. At that exact moment, the camera stopped working. We had some technical difficulties. I watched the bird as my cameraman and friend, Chris Gordaneer, cursed Canon and several other random things. The bird was a perfect looking specimen. The colour was just perfect, not a feather out of place. As quickly as it arrived, it left. And the camera started working just then too. More curses were thrown about the car by both Chris and myself. I saw it, but had no footage for the documentary of the bird. As luck would have it, that Thrush was hungry and returned. Our camera was in fine working order and we got some great footage.

Afterward, we were invited into the home to warm up by a nice wood fire. The homeowner was a very interesting man, a retired violin maker. He showed us some other shots of birds he'd had at his feeder. Great birds. And he told us many stories about his property. He had been living there for 45 years and knew every inch of the land. One thing he said really stuck with me. As we sat beside the wood stove in a moment of silence, he said, "A wood fire is the best heat there is. Do you know why?"
To that I replied, "No, I don't."
"It's because that tree spent so many years collecting the heat of the sun, and now, it's giving all that back to us." he said, staring at the stove. 
That has nothing to do with birding but everything to do with the experience of birding. You never know exactly what you'll see, but it's always amazing.

Varied Thrush
Hairy Woodpecker
Rough-legged Hawk

Total birds to date: 55

Paul Riss
Punk Rock Big Year


  1. Congrats! Seems like you're off to a great start!

  2. Awesome! I google the bird and it's such a pretty one! Glad you got to see it :)
    Also loving reading the blog. It's always a pleasure.

  3. Thanks Jen. It's been pretty fun so far. I've been reading your blog. It's great. Awesome photos.

  4. Thanks Alexandra. It sure was a beautiful bird. Glad you're enjoying the posts.