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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Hermit thrush in "wet dog viburnum"

Northern Californian's have been complaining about the lack of precipitation this winter. Well, we finally got some. Two days ago it snowed seven inches. We're still behind the annual average, but it helped.

The storm also delivered a pair of hermit thrushes and varied thrushes. I see both of these species regularly in the ravines, but rarely around the house. With only slim pickings among the wild berries and almost everything edible covered with snow they zeroed in on the "wet-dog viburnum" next to the house.

Don't ask me what species of Viburnum...all I know is it smells like a wet dog sorely in need of a shampoo.

I staked three cameras around the viburnum, anticipating portraits of both species. The varied thrushes were camera shy, though I could hear them singing in the oaks nearby. I expected the hermit thrushes to sit and gobble berries like robins. They were far more active, and gleaned the berries in flight.

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