Jim McCarty received an email yesterday with several photos attached of a STUNNING adult male VARIED THRUSH in the backyard of a condo owner, Lynnette Stevens, in Avon Lake. I contacted Lynnette immediately to congratulate her on her incredible find, and excitedly and respectfully requested if the birding community could take part in sharing views of this stunning bird. Lynnette secured permission from the condo association owners to allow visits to the area. The bird has been present for “a few weeks” (working on nailing down a more precise date) and was still present throughout the day today (Friday) at: 401 Bounty Way #163 (and #166), Avon Lake. Kent Miller first re-found/reported the bird at dawn today (Friday) at #166. Throughout the day the bird was viewed at several immediate locations within the neighborhood, including atop a tall tree, then flying over the heads of birders to feed close by in a fruiting tree, then foraging on the ground under spruces. There were some substantial periods of time when the bird was not seen. Kay Launer reports: “still present at 4:00 p.m. today (Friday the 7th). We were looking for it for three hours. Many birders got great looks. It was found in a tall tree on Long Pointe Road.”
Kenn Kaufman offers these fantastic tips: “…don’t expect it to be like an American Robin. Despite the similarity in colors, it’s not a close relative and it doesn’t act like one. It’s quite different in shape: stout-bodied, short-tailed, thin-headed. It’s very secretive and furtive in its behavior. A Varied Thrush may come out in the open in the morning or late afternoon, but in the middle of the day it often will sit motionless in dense cover. It has soft callnotes, including a “chuck” like a Hermit Thrush and a soft burry whistle. Unless it’s visiting a fruiting tree or shrub, you’re likely to see it on the ground under thickets or close to cover. If you’re seeking a Varied Thrush, it’s best to move quietly and slowly, staying alert for any subtle movements or callnotes.”
PLEASE BE EXTRAORDINARILY RESPECTFUL of the residences and condo areas if you decide to search for this bird in the immediate region. BE SURE TO EXERCISE FULL respect during your visit. Do not approach too closely for photo opportunities. THINK about the bird’s secretive and wary nature (EVEN IF IT APPEARS “TAME”) and that other folks want to enjoy this sighting as well. Respect the neighborhood, residents, birders, and the bird. If you see someone behaving irrationally do not be afraid to call them out on poor birding etiquette and report them publicly. ENORMOUS thanks goes to Lynnette Stevens, the condo owner and spotter, for alerting Jim McCarty (thanks Jim!) and for contacting her condo association to allow dozens to hundreds of birders to visit.
This boy’s a true beaut. Hopefully many get to appreciate this incredible vagrant.