Leslie and I just got back from a seven-day trip to Northern California, combining a trip to see her mother on her birthday with a birding trip instead of our usual stopover in the Redwoods.
We enjoyed seeing Mary, her brother Harry, and his wife Marianne while also getting a chance to visit several national wildlife refuges at the height of the birding season, something I've never done before. It’s hard not to enjoy fast forwarding to Spring and skipping a little of Washington’s winter rains, even if we had to brave a snowstorm in the Siskiyous to do so.
Leslie seemed to enjoy the birding, but I’m sure it was a greater hit with me than with her. I managed to see a lot of birds I seldom see and a few I’ve never seen. Of course, I went expecting to see most of the birds we saw. I saw the Snow Geese when I was there in November and had been told I could see avocets in the spring, a bird found in both Eastern Washington and Malhuer but one I've never seen myself.
One of the nicest surprises of my birding trip, though, was sighting this Varied Thrush on my walk through Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Park,
even if it was too shady to get as good of picture as the one I took on my last trip to Theler just before leaving for California:
Even more coincidental, the Varied Thrush that’s been hanging around my backyard since Christmas was out in the yard when I added bird seed to the feeder this morning,
though it remains so camera-shy that I had to use the same picture I used in January.
Though Sibley says it’s “common in moist, shaded understory within coniferous forests” I had never seen one before 2007 when I saw one in the backyard. They’re such a rarity that I almost invariably feature them on my site when I do manage to get a picture.
It felt downright strange to have one suddenly appear 750 miles from home right after I’d seen it in two different places locally. I guess it’s true that you can never have too much of a good thing.