I had already missed the Varied Thrush in Ottawa twice. Once, on January 10, I headed east with Andrew Keaveney and spent a good chunk of the day searching for the sneaky devil to no avail. It was sporadically still being seen, so when Barb and I traveled to the north, we took a rather looooong detour and tried for it again, since Ottawa is "on the way back" from Cochrane. It was 100 % my idea and fortunately for me, Barb didn't give me any $%#@ for this epic detour which cost us a couple of days and with no Varied Thrush seen. I swore I would never return to Ottawa after that little misadventure.
But, the thrush continued to be seen. After two weeks out of the province followed by some failed bird chases, I was anxious to get a new bird to my list that wasn't a super common spring migrant. That found me traveling back to Ottawa about an hour after I arrived in the door from the long day at Long Point.
I arrived in Kingston at around 11:30 PM and met up with my siblings, Lindsay and Isaac, to go to a pub for a drink. My brother had just turned 19 so this was our first ever chance for that! I didn't get to bed til late but was up first thing this morning to drive to Ottawa.
On the drive a flock of 400+ Greater Snow Geese flew over, but I was anxious to see this bird. As soon as I pulled up at the address, a flash of orange and black flew from the feeder! I didn't see it in my bins and while I was pretty sure it had to have been the thrush, I wasn't certain. I kept waiting, but it didn't show up! At this point I had some dangerous thoughts creep in. "Maybe I should just count that initial sighting as the thrush and move on....after all what else could it have been?"
I convinced myself to keep waiting and finally, around 9:45 AM, the flash of orange was back! I had great looks at the Varied Thrush in my scope, but by the time I ran back to the car to get my camera, it was gone. You see, I usually leave my camera in the car because it increases my chances of seeing anything rare. Actually.
After a tense 10 minutes of waiting it showed up again and I fired off a series of shots that show the thrush. I think I earned this one.
|The back feeder setup - what's that lump on the feeder?|
|Varied Thrush - Limoges, ON|
Speaking of persistence, I may be heading back from Kingston to Long Point tonight (still haven't decided). This morning at 7:00 AM, Brett Fried saw the Smew fly out of the same bay where Stu had it yesterday at the same time. Hopefully it will stick to this routine for tomorrow. I don't think I'll leave my camera in the car for that, however.