Among the Winged Magic at El Rosario Monarch Butterfly Reserve
A Brown Thrasher Hunts for Bugs at Carden Alvar, Ontario
The day in June that Bob and I chose for our visit to the Carden Alvar was a steamy one in a string of hot days more characteristic of the tropics. Our first stop was at Cameron Ranch where friends had photographed beautiful expanses of Indian Paintbrush wildflowers only a couple of days earlier. The flowers were past their prime, but I came face to face with this Brown Thrasher as it waited to supply its nestlings with these freshly-caught insects.
I had been wandering across the meadow knee-deep in myriad wildflowers that captured my interest and finally returned to the worn trail that follows along a wire fence. As I stepped onto the dirt path, this Brown Thrasher flew by and landed not more than 4 feet in front of me. I was ecstatic!
Giving me unparalleled views, the Brown Thrasher moved along the fence from wire to post, and when it did not offer to leave the area, I realized that it must have a nest very nearby.
I tried to gain Bob’s attention, but he was on the far side of a dense thicket of bushes. At the same time, I inched closer to the bird to optimize my view. Like the diligent adult that it was, the Brown Thrasher refused to go anywhere near the nest.
I did not want to harass the Brown Thrasher nor interfere with its parental duties, so I backed away slowly. The Brown Thrasher flew to the ground at the base of a woody shrub, foraged for more insects then flew onto a low branch. Nest located but I did not go in for a look! I left the Brown Thrasher to the task of caring for its young knowing that it would have to make endless trips back and forth to keep them nourished.
Despite the high humidity and relentless sunshine, Bob and I spent 8 hours at the Carden Alvar on this day, between Cameron Ranch, Wylie Road, McNamee Road, Alvar Road and areas in between. We saw no less than 18 Brown Thrashers including this one singing up a storm at the top of a tree. When we observed a Blue Jay diving into a bushy shrub further north along the trail at Cameron Ranch, and the fracas made by two Brown Thrashers, we knew that their nest had been discovered. The Blue Jay made off with a nestling and probably would return. I was so glad that I had left the Thrasher secure in its location earlier on and didn’t draw any more attention to it.
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