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Crissal thrasher        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Like most thrashers, the crissal thrasher is a skulking dweller of thickets and brush, spending much of its time deep in mesquite tangles in its rather small range in the southwestern US.   I tried for years to get a photo of this interesting bird, with its reddish crissum (undertail feathers), long curved bill, and prominent malar stripes.   Unfortunately, the nearest populations to my home (around the Salton Sea) are very shy.   Finally, I found these fairly cooperative birds at the Bosque del Apache refuge and nearby village of San Antonio, in New Mexico.   They posed out in the open for a few minutes, then retreated into the twigs.

  • Canon 1D4 or 7D2; 800 mm IS lens plus 1.4X converter, fill-in flash (2012, 2015)