The reason for my trip to Boyce was because of a neat bird called a Varied Thrush. A few days prior to my visit, fellow birder Ed Strong found this species in the Arboretum and I immediately planned to chase it. I had never seen a Varied Thrush in my life, and it's a big deal! And as I mentioned just three lines ago, it's a very neat bird. The Varied Thrush resides in moist conifer forests of the Northwest, and it's distinctive one syllable song that rises and falls in pitch for every note is both haunting and spectacularly peaceful at the same time. Besides wanting to see a Varied Thrush so bad, I think I've always wanted to hear one live in the field just as bad. In Arizona, the Varied Thrush is considered rare, but annual. There is always one to chase in the state annually, but there has never been one in Maricopa since 2009 when I got serious about birding. Now that I've snapped out of being only for birding Maricopa mainly, I didn't care where I was. I just wanted a Varied Thrush, one that I've felt I should've had way before this day. It was only my second attempt ever at a Varied Thrush (I did chase one at Hassayampa jungle once, but it is a thick jungle), and I was eager to start searching. When I got to the Park, I headed over to where the Thrush was being seen. Within a few minutes, I got to the spot, and looked up at a bird right away, that highly resembled my highly wanted target....
It was the Varied Thrush indeed, and right away! I was shocked I got lucky so fast. I saw the Varied Thrush was a female, which isn't as dark as the male, but is still a very fine bird. She didn't want to go unnoticed, and hopped on top of the nearby Smith Building.
I was then joined by birder John Bergstrom and then by birder John Saba. The Thrush was cooperative for me during the entire 5 hour outing at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. I probably got to watch her for close to two hours. And she gave me a great show, a classic lifer!
Sometimes overdue lifers are the best lifers to get. I've felt like I've already seen a Varied Thrush before, because I've always looked for them in season in good habitats. Seeing one finally was awesome. I could ramble on and on about this neat bird, but I won't say anything else. The pictures speak for themselves about how cool this bird is! With an overdue location I needed to visit and an overdue lifer I wanted to see, it made for a very memorable day of birding! Both times I have visited Boyce has resulted in looking for a thrush species; what bird will I chase there next?