Wednesday, January 6, 2016

. . . and a Brambling in a Pear Tree

We were feeling a bit restless after Mass on New Year’s Day, so we decided to head to the park for a walk.  It was cold, but tolerable, and it certainly beat staying cooped up in the house all day.  As we neared the park we saw a bunch of people by the side of the road.  They were donned in their best and warmest camouflage parkas.  Many carried cameras and spotting scopes that would make even professional photographers and army marksmen jealous.

When we pulled into the park, we saw that this was apparently a really big “to do” as cars filled the lot and extended out along the driveway.  Signs pointed to an overflow parking area.  We guessed that all these people were bird watching, perhaps for a bald eagle that has been known to frequent the area.  But this seemed a little extreme.

We went for our hike, enjoying the quiet and the slowly falling snowflakes.  Near the end of our walk we saw a couple come out of a distant trail and head towards their car.  Since they were parked near us, and I’m known to be nosy, I asked them what was going on.

A Brambling had been spotted in the area.  Huh?

It’s a small bird, native to Europe and Asia, and hasn’t been seen in these parts since 1978.  Someone had spotted one a few weeks earlier, keeping company with a flock of finches.

As we drove home, we chuckled.  Everyone has their thing, and apparently this was theirs.  We often consider ourselves “birders” but not like that.  I don’t have the patience to stand for hours in hopes of possibly, maybe, if I’m lucky, seeing a particular bird.  When I see an unfamiliar bird my yard or neighborhood or walks in the park, I’ll look it up.

After we got home, Himself went online and looked up this Brambling.  When he showed me pictures of this bird we both laughed.

We need to rewind a week here . . .

On Christmas Eve the weather, for December, was awesome.  It was sunny and in the low sixties.  In the early afternoon we needed a break from cooking and cleaning and prepping for our celebration and company the next day.  We grabbed a cup of coffee and sat on the patio for a while.  Himself remarked at the number of Robins that were still in the area.  They seemed to like this weather, as well, and hadn’t flown south yet.

I looked at the birds and said that they weren’t Robins, some of them were too small and they were eating the fruit left in the Bradford Pear tree.  Robins like insects.  I got out my Birds of North America book.  After looking at all the birds and reading about Robins, I finally gave up the argument and conceded that they were, in fact, Robins.

The day after New Year’s, we were back at the park for another walk.  The crowd had grown even larger.  As a car with out of state license plates drove by us, we just looked at each other and smiled.  What some people waited and searched for, we had in our own backyard.

A Brambling in a Pear Tree!  ♫

Happy Epiphany!



  1. A brambling in your backyard...are you kidding? This birder is so jealous! Good thing I don't know where you live. :o) With a bird like that to start with, you should definitely start a "yard bird list" for 2016. I bet you could get 100 species. Just watch out, or you might become like those crazy birders in the park.

    1. Actually there was more than one! We kick ourselves now that we didn't take any pictures, but we thought they were just small Robins.

      We did start a list a while ago, but haven't been good about updating it. I would guess that if we're not at 100, we're awfully darn close.

      Any time you want to come look, you are more than welcome!

  2. That is hilarious! Too bad you didn't take a photo. Imagine going up to the group with it, saying Oh, you mean one of these?!? Their minds would have been blown.

    1. We thought about that, but we didn't want them following us home!

  3. Haha - I love it! You could have had that whole crowd in your backyard ;) I really enjoy watching people who are watching animals - one year in CO (on vacation) there was a whole crowd taking pictures of baby coyotes (who were very picture-worthy) and it reminded me so much of paparazzi! The cubs really could have cared less.

    1. No, thank you! I feel sorry for the people who live near the park. Three dozen plus people facing my house with cameras and spotting scopes would be a bit disconcerting.