Familiar Species at Familiar Places
5 June 2014
I think that all birders engage in a continual quest for the unusual, the rarity that shows up infrequently. But this belies the very fact that we are seeking birds most often in familiar, cherished locations, and the birds we find are predominantly old friends. They are none the less appreciated, perhaps even more so, for their reliability and the warmth of feeling they invoke in us.
The area at the control dam on the Conestoga River in St. Jacobs, and the meander of the river above it, is one of our favourite birding spots and we return there often.
Its eternal tranquility seems made for the welcome of old friends, not the surge of adrenalin engendered by a rare and unexpected species.
For years Eastern Phoebe Sayornis phoebe has nested in this area, and it was with great delight that we saw a pair flycatching from an overhanging branch.
Subtle and muted, this bird has an understated beauty all its own.
No less appreciated was this American Robin Turdus migratorius, one of our most common birds at this time of the year, but handsome, gregarious and always entertaining to watch.
Our route home took us down Martin Creek Road, another of our regular haunts, where Mennonite farms and a Mennonite school house lend a degree of bliss to a pastoral landscape.
This Savannah Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis took flight from its perch atop a fencepost the moment we stopped the car to take its picture, leaving us wishing we could assure it that it had nothing to fear from us.
Eastern Kingbirds Tyrannus tyrannus choose a perch and wait patiently for an insect to pass by; then they sally forth, snap it up, and return to their perch to devour it. The white terminal band on their tail is very apparent as they go about their business.
New and exciting birds are always great to see, but I wouldn't trade them for a minute for the familiar species that brighten my life every day.