January 31, 2008

An Unexpected Lifer

Tuesday morning, after spending that hour down along the shore of the Well, I was hanging out in the parking lot chatting with one of our volunteers. While I was standing there I noticed some Western Bluebirds and a juvenile Northern Mockingbird hanging out in a large juniper nearby.

So, since I still had my camera in hand, I decided to take both more me-time and more photographs. I happily clicked away, easily taking another fifty pictures of these very cooperative subjects. Nothing particularly exciting about the whole experience...just a chance to take pictures of some fairly common birds. Birds I have seen hundreds of times before. Or so I thought.

That evening I told Sonja about my morning in the parking lot and proceeded to pour through the 264 images, culling them down to the 21 best, including this one of the mockingbird.

I hadn't even considered the option that this bird wasn't a Northern Mockingbird. I see them in that tree all the time. It looks like a mockingbird...it's in the same place as other mockingbirds...it's a mockingbird. Then I happened to mention to Sonja that some birders had seen a Sage Thrasher only a few days prior in the same spot. She thought that was pretty cool, since neither of us had ever seen one before, and thought we should try to go find it sometime.

Before bed that evening, while sitting on the crapper, no less, I was flipping through one of our bird books when I suddenly spotted a picture of the mockingbird I had taken a picture of that morning. However, next to it was the label "Sage Thrasher". I flipped back to the mockingbird section, then back to the thrashers. They looked pretty similar, particularly the juvenile mockingbird, but there were some definite differences.

After re-examining the photo there was no question about it. What I had assumed was simply a young Northern Mockingbird turns out to be a brand new lifer for me. It was a reminder to me never to take a bird for granted. Even if it's one you've seen a million times before, one you've seen so many times you don't even have to think about it before IDing it.

Anyway, here's a photo of one of the bluebirds I saw, too.

1 comment:

Patrick Belardo said...

Congrats! That's a great way to find a lifer... on the crapper I mean.