Birds of the Western Slope July 20, 2016

By Evelyn Horn


Birds of the Western Slope July 20, 2016 | Birds of the Western Slope, Evelyn Horn,

Audubon Society photo Varied Thrush

Varied Thrush

I know that this is not going to sit well with our leader, but I want to experience this rain forest - alone! We are running late (very late) and the group is going to walk up to the fen to see the Pitcher Plants. I'd like to see them, but now I have to choose. I quietly approach the leader and lay out my case: I can't get lost (there's only one road) and the bus has to come back this way and I won't go far. I explain my desire to investigate the rain forest. (She's not really listening!). But since I'm a paying customer of this Shorebird Festival, I get my way. One unhappy leader (I would be in her position too).

I find a dry (more or less) rock and sit down. I can hear their voices and the sound of the bus going uphill. Gradually I hear silence.

Now I can hear the rain drops landing on the forest and on the road. I go downhill to find a "drier" rock. Here's one. I sit again and listen. I can hear a groaning sound ... an overburdened tree limb? Yes, at least the sound has stopped. I can hear the evergreen trees ... it sounds as if they are talking.

And I let the Hoh Rain Forest seep into my being.

Now there's movement in front of me, and to the left. Sit still. I see bright orange. Oh my! It's a bird. One that's on my "must see list" and it's right here! It's a Varied Thrush! Orange breast, orange throat and a bright orange strip above the eye. There's a black band under the orange throat and orange decoration on the wings. Wow! What a gorgeous bird! I sit in amazement.

But here's a second bird. Like the first but less colorful and the black band is gray ...it's a female Varied Thrush! They both forage in the forest leaf litter. These birds belong to the northwest in the states of Oregon, Washington and in Canada. They don't occur at home in Colorado.

Now they both stop foraging. They're alert, heads up ... they're gone. Now I too can hear the returning bus. But I have a life-long memory!