Friday, February 20, 2009
I was meandering through Irvine Regional Park this morning when a Hermit Thrush perched on a low branch beside the road caught my eye. The fact that it was sitting out in the open was unusual in itself - Hermit Thrushes are usually rather shy birds that keep to the underbrush. I stealthily crept closer, not believing the bird was holding its ground. Eventually, I was faced with a problem: I was so close that I was practically shooting straight up at the bird (it was perched about eight feet off the ground). To get a better perspective, I managed to half balance, half wedge myself a few feet off the ground between two nearby sycamore trees. I managed to get several decent photos from just six feet away. The thrush filled the whole frame. That's one cooperative bird!
I have to keep this brief, since I'm leaving for Winter Camp with my church's youth group in a couple minutes. I found a few other birds of interest this morning at Irvine Regional Park, including a female Canvasback on the lake, a singing Rufous-crowned Sparrow at the far end of the park (new Bigby bird), and a rather funky-looking sapsucker. At first glance I thought it was a Red-breasted Sapsucker, but it has a strong face pattern showing through the red on the head, so it may possibly be a hybrid Red-breasted x Red-naped Sapsucker. Female Red-breasted Sapsuckers can be rather dull, and I'm not entirely clear on all the variation in this species... I'll research it all later. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to obtain any photos par with the Hermit Thrush, but here's my best shot anyway.