The Varied Thrush is a striped orange and gray bird that is usually found in the humid forests of the Pacific Northwest. So naturally, to have one turn up in Indiana is pretty uncommon, and two is pretty spectacular! That is exactly what is going on right now: one Varied Thrush has been reported from Evansville, and another Varied Thrush has been reported from Lafayette. I figured that the perfect way to start my Big Year was to go after this bird and get a true rarity on day one. I chose the one in Lafayette, since Evansville is a three-hour drive from home even when there is not a level-2 snow emergency.
Having just gotten home, I can safely report that the Varied Thrush probably showed up right after I left. I am sure eBird will verify this for me later. No rarity, no lifer, and nothing spectacular to start the Big Year. Oh well.
I do think it’s pretty appropriate that the first bird I saw this year was the state bird of Indiana, the always reliable Northern Cardinal. Bird #001 was seen while taking the dog out this morning. The rest of the year birds are as follows: 002 American Robin, 003 American Crow, 004 European Starling, 005 Canada Goose, 006 Tufted Titmouse, 007 Carolina Chickadee, 008 White-Breasted Nuthatch, 009 Carolina Wren, 010 Downy Woodpecker, 011 Blue Jay, 012 Song Sparrow, 013 Belted Kingfisher, 014 Brown Creeper, 015 Dark-Eyed Junco, 016 American Tree Sparrow, 017 Red-Bellied Woodpecker, 018 House Sparrow, 019 Eastern Bluebird, and 020 Mourning Dove.
I probably could have gotten a much, much larger list on day one had I stuck to the basics and went somewhere I know well, but I’ll chalk this up as a learning experience. And hey, if I didn’t make the hour drive up to Lafayette, I never would have gotten this exact picture of a Brown Creeper!