I knew we had Hermit Thrushes here in winter, at least some years (I have sight records from 2003) but they don't sing on arrival in the fall, and I had photographed one only once (and blurrily) in 2007. I'd never heard one for sure.
Today, walking through the south end of the creek woods, and stopping periodically to listen to birds, I heard this lovely, delicate song--three notes, slightly accented on one, a "rest" of the same length as the notes, and then seven more notes. And again. And again. Having listened to the bird song CDs I thought it sounded "thrushlike" but I haven't listened to those for a long time and I certainly didn't know which.
At Owl, while photographing sparrows (including white-throated, which I hadn't seen this winter until today) I heard a different call note from the cedar across the water. Then I saw a spotty-breasted bird with a reddish-brown tail coming to water, very shyly. Fox Sparrows do that, and have the same reddish tail, but they move like sparrows, and this didn't.
That thin beak doesn't belong to a sparrow, for one thing, and the way it moved in the little cedar tree and even at the water....and besides, the face is all thrush. Only one of the brown-backed thrushes winters this far north--the Hermit Thrush. ( Collapse )