Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Cheery Veery...

I found this beautiful Veery Thrush at Magee Marsh last May during the Biggest Week in American Birding festival. I was walking the boardwalk near dusk when I saw him moving around in the undergrowth. I've never been able to get a decent shot of a Veery. They skulk around on the ground in the leaf litter, and when they do come up for air, they stay tucked deep in thickets and shrubby areas in the woods. This bird was no different. I didn't even try to photograph him because it was getting dark and he was well concealed. I was just watching him through the binocs, hoping he would sing his beautiful song, when suddenly he hopped up on a branch and stared right at me. I switched out the binocs for the camera and held my breath, hoping the lens would squeeze enough light out of the day to record that face! Such a cheery Veery...

A beautiful Veery Thrush (Catharus fuscescens) along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh
A beautiful Veery (Catharus fuscescens) gives me the eye. It might be the stink eye, but I don't think so. 
He's too sweet for that! :-)

Veery Thrush (Catharus fuscescens)
Veeries love the cool and damp forest floors. They also like water, which makes the Black Swamp at Magee Marsh perfect habitat! I assume this fellow is migrating through, but Veeries do nest in the northern parts of Ohio, so maybe he is staking out his territory.

I was so happy to see this bird. I don't get to see it that often in the woods around my house. During spring migration, I do get to hear his beautiful song every now and then in the evening along the Little Miami River, but it's rare. 
The Veery's song is beautiful. If you read about it, you'll often see the words "ethereal,"and "flute-like," "airy," and even "magical" or "haunting." The descriptors are intense for a reason--the song will stop you in your tracks, and once you've heard it, you'll never forget it. Click here for a link to Lang Elliott's recording of a Veery's song. I usually only hear it in the evening near dusk, and it always seems a bit haunting to me...

...such a magical-sounding little bird. If you really want to get fanciful, it's not too hard to imagine his song being a fairy call to announce the beginnings of "midnight revels, by a forest side..." (John Milton, Paradise Lost) 

For migration predictions and info on the birds being seen on the boardwalk, click here for Kenn Kaufman's "Crane Creek - Magee Birding" blog (it covers the Lake Erie Shores and islands region of northwest Ohio). Click here for a nice resource on Magee Marsh.

The Biggest Week in American Birding festival starts May 3, 2013 and runs through May 12, 2013.

25 comments:

Caroline said...

Isn't he neat! You might be right about that first photo, looks like stink eye to me. :o)

TexWisGirl said...

a very handsome little bird!

Banjo52 said...

Sometimes brown and white are plenty! Nice photos, and yes, the song is compelling and unusual (to me at least). How did that guy ever get all that video of the Veery? Impressive! Thanks to you both.

DeanO said...

Beautiful...I think he's posing for you

Carole M. said...

how beautiful the Veery Thrush; how wonderful your photography

Elaine said...

Oh my gosh! I love this guy! The song is magical and haunting, and yes, it's not to hard to imagine the song being a fairy call.

Bob Bushell said...

What a beautiful bird.

Sue said...

Guess I won't see one if they like damp forests---Michigan is too too dry.
:(

Roy said...

Hmmmm... I haven't ever seen or heard this one. Great shots!

Montanagirl said...

Wonderful images, Kelly! I went and listened to his call. You're right: It's a bit haunting, and so beautiful.

Lois Evensen said...

I've never seen this one, either. What a pretty little bird. :)

Janice K said...

Those are awesome! Such a sweet face. The low light seems to suit him.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

What a cutie! Sounds like you are having such a marvelous time!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi There, I'm trying to begin catching up -after being gone for a week.

I know you were in 7th heaven at the big Birding Event...

Love the little Veery.. What a cutie. I'd love to hear his song!!!!!

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Lovely bird... Greats shots.. Cheers..

Carol Mattingly said...

He is totally cute Kelly. Hadn't seen this bird before. Carol

Gillian Olson said...

A real cutey!

Linda said...

What a sweet bird...excellent expression captured! I enjoyed reading your story about this fantastic bird, cheers!

Susan Ellis said...

You've had a great week, thanks for sharing it Kelly!

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

I love the grumpy(?) expression of the first photo, you captured a beautiful series of images.

Guy

Linda Rockwell said...

Lovely Veery photos! It was wonderful to meet you on the boardwalk. :-)

emmanoelle said...

Nice share. Beautiful bird!

aviary

Jerry said...

Veery beautiful (sorry!). Just clicked on the link - the song whas not what I was expecting; It's so mesmerising. I also love the soft light yet crisp focus on the plumage.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone. I have so many more photos to post about Magee. I really have to crack down and get busy. I can't believe more than a week passed without me posting. I guess with Matty getting ready for the Appalachian Trail, I lost track of time. I should be back to regular posts now!

....and lucky me. This week while walking the Little Miami River, three evenings out of four I heard a Veery singing!! Maybe we have a nesting pair! I'll keep listening for that magical song....

Marie said...

Wonderful shots Kelly! I hope to make it this festival sometime in the next few years. What a wonderful opportunity to see lots of birds!