brown thrasher

11.14.23 ~ North Carolina Botanical Garden
‘Old Blush’ Rose

It was a gorgeous autumn day when Janet and her mom came to see us in our new digs. The visit included a late afternoon walk in the botanical garden where we encountered a new life bird for my list! My first life bird located in North Carolina.

Brown Thrasher, #77

It can be tricky to glimpse a Brown Thrasher in a tangled mass of shrubbery, and once you do you may wonder how such a boldly patterned, gangly bird could stay so hidden. Brown Thrashers wear a somewhat severe expression thanks to their heavy, slightly downcurved bill and staring yellow eyes, and they are the only thrasher species east of Texas. Brown Thrashers are exuberant singers, with one of the largest repertoires of any North American songbird.
~ All About Birds webpage

Autumn is still peaking here and there are still many touches of summer lingering. I’ve come to the conclusion that fall comes much later here and has a different feeling than New England’s, yet is very pretty in its own way. And it lasts a lot longer, with not all the trees changing at once, or so it seems to me.

Narrowleaf Whitetop Sedge
a fly deftly avoiding the pitcher plant’s pitfall trap
an unopened pitcher plant
Oakleaf Hydrangea
“Octopus” by Mac McCusker
3rd Place ~ Sculpture in the Garden People’s Choice Awards
hemlock needles and cones with autumn color backdrop

Loblolly pine bark provides a nice contrast to golden autumn hues…

The challenge of life, as I see it, is to find the beauty where we are, in the circumstances we’re in, and to focus not on what’s missing, but on what we have. When we’re awake and present in the moment, not lost in the trance of storylines, we may find that the traffic jam, the office, the crowded shopping mall, the toilet, the temple and the forest are all equally holy, equally worthy of devotion (or loving attention). Everything is sacred.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Facebook, December 10, 2021)

what could be more autumn-y than a mum?

Here’s to finding the beauty where we are and to finding new birds and to sharing experiences with friends.

28 thoughts on “brown thrasher”

  1. A brown thrasher! Well done!

    Thanks for letting me relive that lovely visit. That is a spot I know we’ll return to in the future.

    1. Thanks, Janet! It was so good to see you and have a chance to share another walk together. Looking forward to the next one!

  2. I wondered if we have the Brown Thrasher here. I haven’t seen one before. So I googled. Found they are common in East TX and migrate here in winter September-May. I also found clips of its song which is very pretty. I will keep my eyes open for them now. Pretty chest and yellow eyes.

    Wow! I can’t believe that you captured that iridescent green fly in the flower trap. Gorgeous photo, Barbara!

    1. Thank you, TD! That little fly was a challenge to capture as it was flitting about. I had no idea what kind of bird that brown thrasher was — all I knew was that I had never seen one quite like it before. It was exciting to get home and identify it. The chest markings made me think of a sparrow but it was much bigger than a sparrow. Birds can be pretty tricky, thank goodness for the help from the ‘What’s this Bird?’ Facebook group!

  3. Congrats on a new lifer! I looked up brown thrasher and supposedly they breed in New England, but I don’t recall ever seeing one (nor did you apparently). Like towhees, they must prefer a different habitat than what we have here. I like the oak leaf hydrangea with the fence post, very autumnal, and loved the octopus sculpture… a surprise to come upon, I bet!

    1. Thank you, Eliza! I don’t think I ever saw a brown thrasher in New England, but I did get a glimpse of a towhee once. The picture I got wasn’t very good. There was something very appealing about that oak leaf hydrangea — there were quite a few of them along that fence. The octopus was a great contrast to the autumn theme that day!

  4. the oakleaf hydrangea is gorgeous! and that brown thrasher has such a delightful pattern on his breast! also, how could the octopus be 3rd and not 1st? the quote is a definite keeper! <3

    1. Thank you, Ren! Joan Tollifson is one of my favorite authors; her words help to keep me focused on here/now and on finding sacred beauty in the seemingly mundane and ordinary parts of life. ♡

  5. Barbara, I so love this quote by Joan Tollifson! It’s just perfect to accompany your lovely photos. I think I’ve heard these Brown Thrashers before, but I didn’t know what they were. Now that I do, I’ll be on the lookout for them (though the map seems to indicate they won’t return until Spring).

    1. I’m so glad you loved Joan’s quote, Debbie! Her simple, direct observations about life are so centering and grounding to me. I guess brown thrashers are difficult to spot. This one flew across our path and tried to disappear in the bushes. This was the only picture I managed to get of it! Makes me wonder if I’ve heard them before, too. 😉

  6. What a peaceful walk this was Barbara. It’s nice that the foliage takes longer to turn the vibrant colors and then drop off the trees – more colorful walks for you and Tim now. I like the pitcher plant, something I’ve never seen and it is interesting looking while still closed – it looks like veins and reminded me an image of a human heart for some reason. I’ve never seen a Brown Thrasher either – your #77 find. The mums are still blooming and looking lovely.

    1. It did turn out to be a lovely fall after all, I just have to learn to wait until for November for it to come in earnest! It feels like it’s over in New England before it begins here. I will get used to the new timing. The botanical garden has quite a display of pitcher plants. There are quite a few different kinds of them. I think I may have seen a brown thrasher on the bush outside my window the day before we saw this one at the botanical garden. I wonder if they’re passing through or staying for the winter.

      1. Your extended time to walk in Fall is great, especially since you lost time after your move, finding a new place and getting acclimated. I hope you see many more of the brown thrashers as Fall goes on – Winter is one month from today.

        1. Astronomical winter may be one month away but meteorological winter starts December 1st! I’m having mixed feelings about its arrival, either way. 😉 And I’m very curious to see how early spring weather will come. Hearing all kinds of stories about the tons of pollen…

          1. Yes, I forgot that – it’s just around the corner! I have a high school pal who lives in Cary, NC. Cheryl posts pics of the pollen settling all over her car, backyard, deck – bright yellow everywhere. (I’d take that pollen over ice and snow any day!”)

          2. It’s pretty rough on allergy sufferers, though. I hear jokes about people having to shovel the pollen it gets so deep. I’ll probably be like your friend, posting pictures of the bright yellow scene on my blog for weeks on end. Even though yellow is my least favorite color….

          3. That’s a good question – I don’t recall my friend Cheryl mentioning it, just the mess in the yard, deck and all over the car. She’s retired now and her husband works from home, so I know they both park in the garage – I remember she complained when she came out of school and found her car covered in it. She was a teacher.

  7. It may be my imagination, but is everything in the woods more colourful that by the sea? Your photos look so colour intense! Your little brown thrasher is very cute, and I love the touch of blue on his beak. His speckles are similar to our figbirds that we have here. But your oakleaf hydrangeas are very different to those I shared this week on my post! Even so, they still have that certain ‘hydrangea’ look about them though. 🙂

    1. Hmmm… The leaves don’t seem more colorful to me, but the colors seem a little different than the ones in New England. Probably because different species of deciduous trees predominate the landscapes. Also, it’s hard to describe, but the light has a different look and feel to it down here, too. Yes, what a difference between your hydrangeas and the oakleaf! I will have to go back there and see what the flowers and leaves on this one look like when it’s in season, in late spring to early summer. I’ve got so much to learn about my new home! 🙂

      1. Living in a different area is an exciting new adventure for you! Perhaps it is the different light making a difference to your photos, and the light will change with the seasons, no doubt. I look forward to seeing the oakleaf hydrangeas in season, that will be interesting! 🙂

        1. I’ve always noticed the light around the equinoxes. It felt perfectly balanced, not as bright or as dim as it is during the solstices. I’m not sure if the light feels different here in general because of the lower latitude or because we aren’t by the sea any more. Maybe both. Water affects the way light feels, too. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Donna! The outdoor sculpture exhibit at the botanical garden sure made for some unusual photo ops! 🙂

  8. What a beautifully composed post of narrative and photos. I think we have thrashers near us, but as you said, they are hard to spot. I love birds that have a varied repertoire of songs.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Timelesslady! We did get a small sample of this thrasher’s song and found it enchanting, kind of similar to a mockingbird.

      1. I love mockingbirds too. I find in my area they choose the tallest places and sing their songs from that vantage point, almost as if they are trying to be closer to the heavens and God.

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