Monday, November 26, 2018

Hermit Thrushes in Julian

At a cabin in Julian on November 4 I had 6 Hermit Thrushes at once come into a water feature for a drink. I've never had the opportunity to get so many good photos of this species before.

Usually this species is kind of shy. They respond to pishing (Read: The secret of my birding success) by coming in for a look and often then disappearing into the dense woody brush. Or, they may stay back away in the understory trees giving a soft but distinctive "chup" call.

Frequently I only spot a single Hermit Thrush, or just a few, in my winter birding in gardens, parks, and woodlots. But I've detected (mostly heard only) nearly 50 in a winter's day several times in dense forest along the Oregon Coast. Here in southern California, a dozen would be a good winter number in riparian corridors in oak-pine woodlands in the mountains, or even in chaparral tangles.

San Diego is at the extreme southern end of the breeding range for this thrush. They prefer dense shady high mountain forests as breeding habitat, late May to early July. But for most birders in San Diego County, this species is mostly detected as a migrant throughout the county, and a winter visitor in higher elevations.

Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush and American Robin
The American Robin is a thrush, too. Seeing them this close together
is unusual so you don't often notice the large size difference.
Hermit Thrush
Hermit Thrush

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