Saturday, March 9, 2013

In Dire Need of Song

I'm not the savviest videographer. In fact, savvy is not a word I often use in self description at all, which is a shame because there aren't many words that have two 'v's next to each other. Come to think of it, I should really try to be more savvy more often. 
Having read some interesting and convincing posts about recording bird vocalizations on Lauren Harter's and David Van Der Pluym's blog, I decided to knock up my Thrasher addiction a notch by getting some recordings of Thrasher March melodies.

Horned Lark: A savvy bird, which otherwise has nothing to do with this post, except that he was there.

The previously mentioned (last week) Thrasher Spot in west Phoenix is probably the best place in the entire state to see three, four, or even five different Thrasher species all in one small habitat. However, Red Mountain Park in Mesa, over on the east side of town, is likely the best place to witness singing Bendire's Thrashers up close and personal. They sing from the bush-tops and from the streetlights, from their heart and soul (awww...), and unlike in west Phoenix, they're not too timid around people. 

It's just as well these guys have great pipes, because in all honesty (and don't get me wrong, I love these birds), they're probably the most boring/un-handsome Thrasher. Dull, brown, ... dazed and confused.

But you could say those things about toast too! And everybody still loves toast. Anyway, here's a Bendire's Thrasher doing what they do best. Click in the bottom-right corner to enlarge the video.

Not too shabby eh? The Bendire's Thrashers have a sort of foundational melody, but being mimids and all, they also have some variation and improvisations in their song too, at least in my experiences. Half of the time they're singing they look like they don't know what's going on. It's pretty charming stuff. All the Thrashers are blessed with charming and versatile vocals, but when the Bendire's get in the zone they really belt it out with reckless abandon. Spring is coming and these critters are twitterpated.

"See, it's what's on the inside that counts, so I just sing my guts out. Problem solved."

I don't bird at Red Mountain Park very often, mostly because there are other birdier spots nearby, even though those spots don't host Bendire's as well. Red Mountain isn't without its other attractions. Its duck pond draws in the usual suspects, and even a few of the harder-to-find-but-totally-worth-it-to-find-because-they're-beautiful Redheads. 

There was also a Black and White Warbler reported at the park, but I had no luck in finding it, nor even finding any detailed information on the bird's last whereabouts. Not to worry, one of Red Mountain Park's biggest advantages is that it's only ten minutes away from the excellent birding sites along the Salt River, so naturally that's where I went next. More to come!