Posts Tagged ‘hermit thrush’

Hermit thrush — Wikimedia photo

            “That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, lest you should think he never could recapture the first fine careless rapture!” – Robert Browning

Fodder for Writers

Walt Whitman, like Browning, memorialized the thrush in verse. He used the song of the hermit thrush to describe his lament over the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Whitman had asked nature writer John Burroughs what bird’s voice had a heartbreaking purity that could be used as a motif for his poem, and Burroughs had suggested the hermit thrush. In his own writings, Burroughs wrote that the song of the hermit thrush brought him “that serene exaltation of sentiment of which music, literature and religion are but the faint types of symbols.”

And Anthony Trollope wrote: “I do not know whether there be, as a rule, more vocal expression of the sentiment of love between a man and a woman, than there is between two thrushes. They whistle and call to each other, guided by instinct rather than by reason.”

I didn’t get a photo of the owls this morning, but I did get one of a gila woodpecker in a wild piece of desert landscape near my Tucson apartment. — Photo by Pat Bean

The great American birder, Roger Tory Peterson wrote about hearing the hermit thrush’s haunting melody near Monterey, California, during his trek across American with the great English birder James Fisher in the 1950s, in their book, Wild America.

I saw my first hermit thrush on a cold winter day in 2004, at a small city park near Brigham City in Northern Utah. I had been scrunching through crispy, crackling snow that was laced with ring-necked pheasant tracks when I heard someone say: “Hermit thrush.” I quickly veered in their direction, but by the time I got there, the small brown bird had disappeared into some thick bushes.

Before I could moan in despair, however, the thrush hopped out of the bushes and back into plain sight – and stayed long enough for me to note that its tail and rump looked like it had been dusted with rust, and to observe its slender white eye ring and sprinkling of freckles on its breast.   Life was good – still is. I’ve seen our resident great horned owl pair every day this week.

Bean Pat: Hide and Seek with Butterflies https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/fabulous-friday-hide-and-seek-with-the-butterflies/  A delightful armchair walk in nature.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her patbean@msn.com

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Lake Mayfield at Harmony Lakeside RV Park in Mossyrock, Washington. ... Photo by Pat Bean



If you look closely you can see my RV on the other side of this small grove of trees at Harmony Lakeside RV Park ... Photo by Pat Bean

 Cat’s Motto: “No matter what you’ve done wrong, always try to make it look like the dog did it.” — Unknown

Travels With Maggie

 On my way to Mount St. Helen’s, I stopped at Harmony Lakeside RV Park in Mossyrock, Wash. I planned on making the scenic park my base for three days while I explored the volcano and surrounding area. The park, however, had no record of my reservation, which had been made a month earlier.

 Their computer suffered a melt down and I was most likely, the friendly mother and daughter running the office said, one of the glitches they were discovering after getting back online. To give them credit, they did the best they could for me on this fully-booked Saturday night. I was squeezed into the one remaining vacant site, which the pair apologetic explained was seldom used because it was so small and close quartered, they apologized.

This totem pole that sits beside a small pond full of koi gives the park a northwest flavor ... Photo by Pat Bean

Hermit thrush ... Wikipedia photo

My evening was spent with only a view of six large RVs that had a return view directly into my windows. To get any privacy, I had to pull down my RV shades. I hate doing that.

Thankfully, things got better the next day. I was reassigned to a large site that had a view of Mayfield Lake out one side and its own small forest grove – four large trees, three double-trunked smaller trees and several bushes – on the other.

 That evening, as I was sitting at my dining room table catching up on my e-mail, a hermit thrush made its appearance in the grove. Now I’m always excited to see any bird, but this one was special, both because it’s not one I often see and because it was a new addition to my 2010 bird list. I first suspected it was a hermit thrush when I saw its plain brown-back and rusty red tail. The identification was confirmed when it faced me and I caught a glimpse of its white-rimmed eye and the dark brown spotches that decorated its white chest.

I had been watching the thrush for several minutes from inside my RV, which makes a perfect bird blind, when a sudden rustling in the underbrush scared it away. The noise was accompanied by a tiny mouse scampering up one of the larger trees. Immediately on its tail was a a black and white cat.

The pair both made it about 30 feet up the tree trunk before the cat stopped and appeared to realize where it was. The hesitation gave the mouse time enough to escape. The cat quickly reversed its direction and them jumped to the ground. It landed two feet away from my RV, took time to lick one of its paws, then casually strolled away, as if to say “I didn’t want that mouse anyway.”

I laughed out loud. As much as I had been enjoying my birdwatching, I had to admit that the sight of the cat and mouse running up the tree had been an even better show. I never saw the cat or the mouse again, but the hermit thrush made several more appearances in the grove.

Watching the world outside my RV window is always better than television.

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