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My Life’s Birds: #173

November 19, 2008
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April 14, 1993 – Christian Co, Mo – Maybe it’s appropriate that the first real neotropical migrant I observe showing up in Missouri is a quiet one. With all of the flash and pop of wood warblers and grosbeaks and buntings, it’s easy to overlook the subdued, the subtle, the thrushes. It just so happens that early spring, following the warm rains, is a great time for mushrooming as well as birding. The woods behind our house were wet and spongy and perfect for that most delectable of fungi, the morel.

My family, as soon as we got home from school on a gray spring day, we’d be out back kicking up the leaf litter and turning over logs looking for the perfect afternoon snack, especially when breaded and sauteed in butter. When I began birding, however, I’d throw my binoculars on when we headed out. And on this day it was worth it, because perched on a log in a cedar grove, was a single Swainson’s Thrush, as richly brown and soft as the mushrooms that were our primary quarry.

I don’t remember whether we found any mushrooms on that particular day, but I distinctly remember the bird. A sign that things were going to get very fun very soon.

Photo by fugle via flickr

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