Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Brown Thrashers: Early April Migration to Northern Illinois

A Brown Thrasher trying to elude the camera, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 5/8/2011.
I love the bright reddish brown colors of the Brown Thrasher, but they haven't been very cooperative with my potographic goals. I have seen these mimids in every place go birding (Blackhawk Springs FP, Espenscheid FP, Rock Cut State Park, Nygren Wetlands, Horicon Marsh Wildlife Refuge, etc.) but I never seem to be in the right position at the right time to get a good photograph. Many times I hear them in the dense brush somewhere, but can't find where they are. Whenever I do spot one in the open, they are too far away for a good photo, or if they are close enough, they disappear in the underbrush (Above), before I even raise my camera to my eye. Then as I stalk them, all I see is a flash of rufous brown and they're gone again. In Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve, early this spring, I followed one Brown Thrasher for a good ten minutes as it travelled through the thickets for about a hundred yards, but not once did it give me glimpse of more than a fraction of a second, and I didn't even get one click of my shutter.
A Brown Thrasher looking for food on the Atlanta Zoo grounds; 6/17/2010.
The best chance I ever had at an open shot at one of these guys, surprisingly enough, was on the grounds of the Atlanta Zoo last summer (Above). It didn't stay still very long, but it stayed in the open.
This Thrasher was actually high up in a tree and not in the underbrush as usual,
Rock Cut State Park, IL; 6/5/2011.
During the summer, Brown Thrashers are pretty common from the Plains States to the Atlantic Coast, but as I have said, they are inconspicuously hidden from view. They'll winter in the southeastern corner of the U.S. Contrasting their rufous back and wings is their white underparts with black streaks. I particularly like the intense look of their yellow eyes.

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