Townsend’s Solitaire

While walking along Lincoln Street in the snow hoping to find a good look at the Bohemian Waxwings and Pine Grosbeaks flocks that were moving around the neighborhood, I happened to notice a couple of people behaving in a way that signaled to me they were probably looking at something I might find interesting, quite possibly a bird. It turned out I was correct, Eric Parker and his daughter Erika had turned up a bird they didn’t recognize that morning, looked it up and figured out it was a Townsend’s Solitaire then came back in the afternoon to try for better pictures. I had a nice visit with them for a few minutes after it flew off. Then stuck around to see if it would come back.

Unfortunately it flew off before I was able to get decent pictures of it (the best I got leads the post), but they showed me the bush where they had found it both in the morning and again in the afternoon eating berries – so after going on a short walk in the direction it had flown, I came back and waited in the area of the bush. It did ultimately come back, though light was getting pretty dim by that point in the afternoon. Still, I might have managed a decent picture or two with a little more time (best I got is below), but right then someone came walking along the sidewalk and the bird took off. Given the rapidly diminishing light, I decided to give it up for the day and try again on the following day, but never saw it again.

Townsend’s Solitaire seems to be more of a mainland, and perhaps interior migrant and there are only a handful of sightings reported from Sitka, and only two that I know of over the past 7 or 8 years that I’ve been paying attention to such things. That being the case, it was nice to see this even as briefly as I did. I always like getting nicer photos, but for really unusual birds I sometimes must be satisfied with photos where the bird is identifiable.

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