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Hermit thrush        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The small, delicate-looking hermit thrush has one of the most etherial songs of any North American bird.   When not singing they can be distinguished from relatives like the gray-cheeked and Swainson's thrushes (carefully) by irregular breast spotting, rusty wings and tail, and a habit of flicking wings and tail when sitting (songs or calls were the only traits that convinced me of the ID of some of the birds in these images).   The photographs were made in Riverside, California, in Alaska at the northwestern extreme of the species' wide range (the Kenai Peninsula, Eagle River and Anchorage); some wintering birds were near Palm Desert and Big Sur, both in California, and southern Texas.  Several of the photos clearly show the species' long legs.

  • Canon 1D Mk. II, 7D, 1D4, or 7D2; 500 mm f4 IS lens or 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X or 2X converter; fill-in flash (2005-2007, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2016)