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Voyage for a Varied Thrush

If it seems like it has been a long time since I've blogged here, it has. There are a few reasons for this - one is that the winter has conspired to make travel difficult. We've had the snowiest February ever in the Twin Cities, plus a healthy dose of really cold weather. While this doesn't shut me down completely, it does make things much harder. Also, I've been up guiding in Sax-Zim Bog almost every weekend, which has really cut into my time for bike birding. This shouldn't make or break my efforts, since there aren't all that many species in MN in the winter. I need to try to get any rarities that I can, plus the suite of birds that are only here in the winter. Hopefully things will get a bit easier in March so I can track down all those winter species that I haven't gotten to yet.

One really good vagrant showed up in Minneapolis in late January - a Varied Thrush! A homeowner down near Minnehaha Creek reported the bird and encouraged others to come and view it. Perfect - now I just needed to get down there! Given that this spot is only just a little over 5 mile ride from my place, you would think it wouldn't be that hard. But the first day I wanted to try for the bird, I was thinking of biking to the spot, and then continuing biking all the way to work. However, we'd had some freezing rain and the roads were extremely slippery. I fell three times in a couple miles so I gave up my effort and just hopped on the bus to work (the bus stop is only about 1/2 mile from the thrush's location). I was bummed to miss my try for the bird, but I was even more grumpy about all the falls.

I was able to view the Varied Thrush after work, and I was happy about that, although it wouldn't count for my year. I also went back to the spot with Kellie and her sister, Jess, so they could both see it (it was Jess's second vagrant Varied Thrush of the year, since she saw one in Ohio in January)! But that one didn't count for my biking year either, since we drove to get there. Finally, after another few days, I had the time and the conditions to make a bike ride for it. Luckily this Varied Thrush wasn't fazed by all of the snow and the cold and stuck around long enough for me to finally tick it without the motorized transport!

This is what birders call a "record shot" - it is good enough to show that the bird is a Varied Thrush, but it won't isn't a very good photo. You'll probably see a lot more record shots before this thing is over!

On the way back after seeing the Thrush, I took the creek path and checked for Black Ducks again, but no luck this time either.


It isn't very often anymore that I get a lifer in my home county! Having this bird show up and being able to get it for my biking big half year is very lucky!


Miles Biked on this trip: 13.8

Miles biked year to date: 130.6

Species count: 35

My bike birding eBird profile:

https://ebird.org/profile/MTIxNDg5NQ

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612-568-5272

gregg.severson@gmail.com

Minneapolis, MN

© 2019-2020 by Gregg Severson. All photos by Gregg Severson or Kellie Hoyt unless otherwise noted.