I see Varied Thrush almost every day in my backyard, but they're always 60' up in an arbutus tree or hidden in the willow thickets. On Nov. 26 I was driving around Nanoose when I spotted some birds in a wild crabapple tree - Dark-eyed Juncos, Spotted Towhees, Steller Jays, and VARIED THRUSH. Everything disappeared as I pulled to a stop, but within 5 minutes, a few Thrush were back plucking crabapples. Using the car as a blind, I finally got my Varied Thrush photo.

AN APPLE A DAY - Even the Varied Thrush knows that a diet of fresh fruit and no trans-fats is the secret to a healthy and long life.

WINTER BEAUTY - There's little doubt that the Varied Thrush is the prettiest winter bird in my backyard.


After reading the Yahoo messages all week about the Grashopper Sparrow, I knew I had to make the effort. Fortunately, it was a warm, sunny, fogless day, Chris Saunders showed up, and the Grasshopper Sparrow cooperated. (Thanks to all the Victoria birders for finding the bird and reporting its presence.)

THE GREAT HOUDINI - It was amazing how the Grasshopper Sparrow could land almost in front of us and disappear. But it was our lucky day as the bird couldn't resist hopping onto a log once in awhile to catch a few rays of the wonderful spring (in Nov.) sunshine.

HOPPING THROUGH THE GRASS - The Grasshopper Sparrow is aptly named for the way it hops through the grass.

BONUS BIRD - Seeing the Grasshopper had already made my day, so it was icing on the camera to find a Dunlin.

BONUS-BONUS BIRD - All summer I was unable to get a decent shot of a Marsh Wren. If they were in sight, they were always too far away. If they were close, they would be too close and too well covered by bullrushes. The Whiffen Wren was definitely used to people and carried on with its flycatching as people walked by and I took the pictures.

A TRIPLE-BONUS - It was quite a surprise in Cowichan to have a Sharp-shinned Hawk land on the wires 30' in front of us. It flew down into some bushes then emerged empty-clawed a few seconds later onto a fence post.