NFR Western Tanagers/Black Headed Grosbeaks

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Greg Armstrong, May 8, 2013.

  1. There's a bird up on the Icicle, the Swainson's Thrush, the song of which instantly transports me back to being a little boy wandering around through the forests and thickets around our house at the coast, above San Francisco, what seems like light-years ago. I could listen to this bird for hours on end.
    Ron McNeal and dryflylarry like this.
  2. Alex, I love the Swainson's thrush, too. I think of it as having an upwardly spiraling song, in contrast to its close relative the Veery, with a downwardly spiralling song.

    Both have been eclipsed as my favorites since moving to Washington by the Varied Thrush. I love the single clear note on a different pitch every time it calls; it transports me to forests by a stream in the quiet hour just after dawn.
  3. The pileated is a big (think crow sized) bird. The Red Breasted Sapsucker looks mostly black with a red head but no pronounced crest. They both have lighter breasts but you won't see that when viewing them from the back while the bird (not you) is clinging to the trunk of a tree. I see both of these birds every few days at this time of year at the edges of our yard.

    Yesterday morning I watched the largest Pileated I've ever seen tear apart a stump in search of insects. They can really make the chips fly.

  4. Hey Alex, thanks for the link to the Swainson's song.

    I've always wondered what bird produced that song that I heard and enjoyed so often in the alpine areas while on a climb or backpack. Many's the morning I've awakened to that wonderful call and just listening to it here instantly draws me back to laying in the mummy bag in the tent or bivy sack, anticipating another new day in the mountains!
  5. The black-headed showed up yesterday! Last year they came on May 10th, so right on schedule.

    Gotta love those thrush songs.

    Another fav is the loon calls, which we heard this past weekend.
  6. In-laws (Whitefish, MT) used to have western tanagers in their yard back in the 80's-early 90's, Stellar Jays, too, but they gradually headed someplace else. Magpies, which I never saw many of north of Kalispell, have moved in, as well as blue jays.

  7. When I see these colorful birds I think feathers for soft hackles. heh..heh....heh....

    Before things go off on a tangent all my feathers (except for some huntable upland birds) are purchased from fly shops. But it doesn't stop me from thinking of the other feathers.
    Mark Mercer likes this.
  8. Since we're on the subject of birds, here's one for ya.

    The stepson says just last week he saw 6 to 8 sparrow or finch-sized birds here in the central Kitsap area. The thing is, he says they were all a bright lime green color! I told him he had me stumped but later I checked both my Peterson's and Smithsonian's guides and the only birds that came close were kinglets or vireos. But they seem a very subdued green color mixed with darker plumage.

    Outside of a big break-out from the bird department of Farmland Feed on Silverdale Way, anyone have an idea?
  9. Dipnet;
    There have been a lot of reports lately of Red Crossbills in the area. The females are somewhat of a lime green color. They do come to feeders.
    Maybe that's what he saw?

    Also, check for female Goldfinches - a bit of lime color on them.

    Ruby Crowned Kinglets can have a greenish cast to them, too. But they're smaller than most finches or sparrows.

    There's also a flock of small parrots that roam around, usually north of Seattle. They've been around for years. Theory is that they're obviously escapees and that they must be able to find heat vents on rooftops to stay warm enough to survive N.W. winters. Other areas including San Francisco Bay area and surprisingly, Connecticut have large numbers of parrots that survive as well.

    Maybe there's a Kitsap parrot flock now too.
  10. Maybe some male goldfinches in the process of turning from winter to spring color ? At one point they look sort of greyish yellow that might look green from a distance.
  11. Cool thread, I've always enjoyed our little feathered friends, especially their songs (and feathers), but don't know the names of very many, but I'm working on it. Thanks Alex for the video of the Swainson's Thrush I'll have to keep my ears open for that.
    Those Western Tanager's certainly have some nice plumage....I can think of a few places I could use those.
    dryflylarry likes this.
  12. Went out looking for a W. Tanager this weekend without much luck. I did stumble across a pileated woodpecker, flycatcher and my old friend Annie, the owl.
    Patrick Gould likes this.
  13. we got a pair of black headed grosbeaks this morning... very beautiful birds

    so far this year we have feed

    chickadees both black capped and chestnut caped
    Pine Siskins
    rufus sided towhee
    varied thrush
    goldfinches both lessers and Americans
    hairy woodpecker
    Downey wood pecker
    evening Grosbeak
    song sparrows
    house finches
    rufus hummer
    Anna's hummer
    yellow rumped warbler
    Oregon Juncos
    cassins finch
    house sparrows
    and every few weeks we see the Coopers hawk in the back yard.
  14. Great thread! I love all the birds everybody has mentioned (especially the crows), but one of my favorites has to be the varied thrush. It's plaintive whistle in the gloom of early morning in the forest is positively primeval. It's one of the things I love most about the Pacific Northwest.

    Greg Armstrong and Chris Johnson like this.
  15. It's nice to see folks enjoying the many birds we have here. There was a time when I did a lot of bird watching, I just don't seem to have the time now. In acouple of years I'll have plenty of time( fingers crossed).
  16. Ditto that, Kent. They even sing that plaintive call in the depths of winter. Unusual that they do that, as most birds are relatively silent during the winter months.
    The call of the Varied Thrush takes me way back to when I was a kid growing up here.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  17. Chris,
    It's easy - there's two times I watch birds;

    1) at our backyard birdfeeder and, 2) whenever I'm fishing!!!
  18. We had a pair of varied thrushes at our house about 1-2 months ago. They hung around for a couple of weeks. I was thinking we might end up with a nest of them in our yard, but then the pine siskins swarmed in and no more thrushes.

    A great place to see Western Tanagers is Lake Chopaka in June.
  19. The varied thrushes tend to hang out at the feeders for a couple of months in late winter / early spring. They head to deeper cover during the nesting / rearing season. Pretty typical of the thrushes, excpet for robins.

    We have a pair of band-tailed pigeons that like to visit the feeders. Pretty bird with bright yellow feet.

    A lot of nice birds up at Chopaka.

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