“Rare” Late Migrants!

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

Yesterday on my way in to the office I stopped by 155 N. Wacker Drive, as usual, to visit with the White-Throated Sparrows, see if the Hermit Thrush was still around… and to my surprise, a Gray Catbird jumped right out onto the cement edge of the elevated berm, looked me in the eye, and took off for the trees hugging the brick building. Whenever birds fly to those trees I can hardly ever see them and give up on any thoughts of getting pictures.

I heard the Hermit Thrush but did not see it. Incidentally, I hope to record this sound some day because this year is the first time I’ve become aware of it with Hermit Thrushes: it’s a whirry call that almost sounds like a purr, which I first identified by process of elimination a few weeks ago when I found a Hermit Thrush in my yard, then later checked on my Bird Tunes app and confirmed it.

So yesterday morning I figured I had a list of birds to submit to ebird and was not surprised when I had to write in the Gray Catbird. But I was later asked to prove it, at least by description if not a picture, and since I didn’t have a picture, I thought well, maybe I should go back and to see if it was still around on my lunch hour.

White-Throated Sparrow

White-Throated Sparrow

The White-Throated Sparrows were happy to see me again, and I stood still almost at the edge of the sidewalk so they would not feel pressured by me and my camera. While I was waiting to see who else might show up, the Hermit Thrush dashed out below me.

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush

And then the Catbird came out – cautiously at first – but then got used to me and let me get several pictures in the ever-darkening light. The clouds were moving in fast yesterday afternoon!

Gray Catbird IMG_1044_1Gray Catbird IMG_1039_1

Just amazed to stand there and visit with the birdies, alone except for one woman sitting off to the side with her cell phone and cigarette.

And then suddenly I saw a Lincoln’s Sparrow and I knew this was probably going to be another rare sighting.

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow IMG_1128_1

The funny thing about the Lincoln’s was after I had taken several pictures of him, he flew up into the tree to my left to give me a better view. Or to check me out, or to say thank you, because by now I had scattered some more bird seed. It was the least I could do for such a cooperative bunch.

When I got back to the office I submitted another ebird report and I had to justify the Lincoln’s Sparrow because yes, it too was a rare sighting at this date. And then last night at the suggestion of the submission monitor, I discovered how to embed photos into my ebird reports, so I added the two rare sightings to support my observations. Now I feel like a citizen scientist…

Lincoln's Sparrow

Lincoln’s Sparrow

Hard to let go of the locals just yet. But a picture is still worth a 1,000 words, heh.