Friday, November 27, 2009

A little sun on Thursday

It feels like the rain has been coming down for a long time. Not the best for bike commutes, but then again, much better than ice or snow, so I try to appreciate it. Still, when the sun peeked timidly through the clouds yesterday, I took the time for a quick walk between classes. Here is what I saw.

First, I think, a Common Merganser, although it didn't seem to have that characteristic "Woody Woodpecker" look that I have come to expect. It was doing a very energetic bath dance, and I was convinced it was celebrating the light, if not brilliant sun.
Then, sitting ever so quietly in the tree, was what I think may be a Varied Thrush. If I was correct, then it was a first sighting, and oh my, what gorgeous colours! I played with both autofocus and manual on my camera, but still find it a huge challenge to get reasonable photos when there are branches jumping into the focus queue, iffy light, and the imminent possibility that the bird will fly off. Here are my two best results, but both had to be photoshopped to add light.

I'm not sure why, but these three mergansers (?) reminded me of the men who used to sit on tree stumps in front of my father's garage on good-weather days, way back in the early 1950's.
A bit further along the path, was a robin. A man was walking by with his little dog, and saw me taking me pictures. "What do you have there?" he asked, and at that point, I was thinking I had a Towhee. On looking at the picture later, I realized the broken ring around the eye was the robin clue. Funny how a bird I thought I knew is sometimes challenging to identify. Walking along the path, the man talked about birds and photography, and the conversation added to the pleasure of that first fair-weather walk in some time.
Turning back towards school, I enjoyed watching two border collies meet and greet a third one. They seemed to be exchanging "It's a good day" comments, combined perhaps with just a touch of, "I have the ball and you don't."

Instead of going into the school, I continued just a bit further, to check out the harbour view. Seagulls were lined up beside the abandoned (temporarily, I hope) osprey nest.
On the rocks by the lookout, a mystery bird let me come quite close. I'm going with Hermit Thrush, but that's just a guess. I've put several views here, in the hope that you may correct me if I'm wrong. Again, if I identified correctly, a first sighting. Lovely little bird!

A couple of sky views to conclude the walk. No, not bright sun, but still, much appreciated light behind those clouds.
No rain, a little sun, a pleasant conversation, and some new birds. A great day!


  1. I hope you are having the same clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine that we are having here in Crofton today, Carol.

    You are correct about the varied thrush. I saw my first one of the season the other morning at Janice's, so they are definitely back for the winter.

    I'm not so sure about the Hermit Thrush - they are typically about 7 inches, and this one looks much smaller (though size is always hard to tell in photos!). From the round little shape of its body, and the head and beak, I might have guessed a wren - possibly a winter wren, though the tail colours are usually more patterned.

  2. Thanks, Jean. The info is much appreciated! You are right. That last bird was a tiny and very chubby little bird. I did wonder about a wren. I'll look again in my book.

  3. that little hermit thrush is over-loading my
    "cute quota" for the day

  4. (or whatever type of bird it turns out to be:)

  5. Thanks, dirtyduck. Great to get your comment. It seems, after some more thought about the size, that the little bird may indeed be a hermit thrush.