I picked Reed up this morning and we headed here —
Lime Creek Nature Center, north of Mason City.
Reports of a Varied Thrush, a rare bird to be seen in Iowa, were online and this morning it was reportedly still there.
We dressed relatively warm but when we arrived we found the building to be closed so if we wanted to see this bird, we had to stand outside. We talked to a fellow with a huge camera who had already gotten photos of the beautiful bird. He drove to Mason City from Waterloo, a 2 Hour drive, just to photograph this bird. No bird in sight. We were frozen after 40 minutes so we went to the car to warm up. When we returned he told us that the bird had been there while we were in the car. So we waited again and then moved to the other side of the viewing area. Still no bird. Another gal who had also driven from Waterloo came to tell us the bird was where she was watching so we hurried there. The bird flew across the feeding area to the spot right where we HAD been standing. She felt terrible but it wasn’t her fault. Still we saw no bird and were again frozen so off to the car again to warm up again. By now 2 hours had passed. We saw many cardinals, both male and female but no varied thrush.
One time when we went back to the car there was a flock of cedar waxwings on the ground and they immediately flew to this tree.
I did not realize they were so small. We saw all the regular birds, too – blue jays, downy woodpeckers, juncos, chickadees, goldfinches, pine siskins – but no varied thrush! Everybody else had a photo but us. We were chunks of ice by the time we gave up and headed for home. I’m too impatient to be a bird watcher!
We never did see the varied thrush – very disappointing.
I’ve been home an hour already and I am cold to the bone. With a rare bird in the area and it being a holiday weekend, I can’t imagine that the inside viewing area was not open. We’ll try again – it may still be there next week.
While I was recently looking for old photos, I came across these from two different houses I lived in. As you can see, plants are not a new hobby for me. I have always loved plants in pots.
By the time we left Lime Creek it had started to rain. Brrrrr!
I’m sorry you missed the bird. The Nature Center will be open Saturday for sure and I believe Sunday. Bird watching is sometimes very cold or very hot and persistence pays off most times.
I had to go make a cup of hot coffee to warm up after reading your chilled to the bone blog post!! At least you tried. It’s more than I would today. I have been inside all day cleaning my house and putting out Christmas decorations that I just love to look at and remember who made this or that for us. Takes me so long now!!!
What a disappointment for you and Reed.
Isn’t it funny??? I might stand in the cold just to see a cardinal because we don’t have them on the west coast and I have Always wanted to see one. We have lots of varied thrushes, however. Wish I could transport you here for the afternoon to see one or two digging away in the flower beds.
We also have the big Northern Flickers that overwinter here. I think they are so beautiful.
Why is it that those kinds of centers close for holidays? That is just when people want to take their children because of no school.
Sue in Oregon – my thoughts exactly regarding being open.
I know your disappointment. Just had similar experience in Austin Texas. It’s a site to see 1.5 million bats fly out from bridge at dusk from July to October. Was there in November so didn’t expect to see them. Met nice couple who said there were 250,000 bats (still a lot) out night before so we tried. Stood out 2 following nights in rain and unusually cold Texas weather (40 degrees) and saw NO BATS!
When I get that cold the only way I can warm up is to take a nice long, hot bath! Sorry your adventure wasn’t as perfect as most of them are. I hope the bird is there next week for you and your little sidekick, Reed.😊
I guess you need to visit me in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. We see hundreds of varied thrushes each summer including those that come in our back yard
Teresa Farbridge – well, isn’t that just the way it goes? I suppose we have some birds that you don’t see and that’s why this bird being here is so special for us to see!
Yes I agree I would love to see the cardinals you see.
Oh, that was me….I STILL feel terrible! I hope you get to go back and get to see it. I, too, was surprised to see the building closed. It would have been much easier. Although it was a relatively nice day, it was chilly out there.
What an awesome thing you do to take Reed out birding!
Jo Thedens – Hi! Yes, we will try again. We were not dressed for outdoors really – no boots, Reed had no gloves and I wasn’t concerned because I thought the building was open. On top of that, Reed spilled his hot coffee on his pant leg and that made him even colder. Reed and I have many adventures! We will return! Not to worry!
Oh that is disappointing. I agree that centers should be open when kids are not in school. Don’t try to go on Monday. It looks like your area is going to get some bad weather. Maybe this will warm you up. Squeak got her shots yesterday and she was so mad at me for taking her in her carrier that she growled at me!!! Yes, Squeak the cat does growl often, but never at me!! She has forgiven me. Stay warm and safe, Mary.
Diane – we aren’t discouraged that easily – we’ll go again!
California USA near San Francisco we are finally getting rain so we are now able to breathe clean air. It is much cooler here too but not freezing temperatures like you get.
We had devastating fires in Northern California last year and now in a different area this year a whole town.
People have donated so much but the people in need can not use most of the “stuff” because they have no homes no place to put or keep “stuff”. Cash and gift cards are most needed. 90 of this years first responders to this fire also lost their homes.
One woman who had just given birth via C section was driven by a volunteer (still on IV ) with her new born at one point it was touch and go the mother said (she was unable to even walk due to her medical condition) take my baby and run. The driver was able to them to safety
The mother said she had never had a Thanksgiving with so little and never had a Thanksgiving that she had so much to be grateful for …. she has other children who are safe as well as her husband.
Makes me realize how grateful I am for all that I have
Colleen – we watch the national news and just can’t imagine where those people will go or what they’ll do! Homes can only be built so fast and there are just so many contractors and suppliers. And their jobs are gone, too! What will they do?
We have varied thrush on the ranch in the summer they are not huge but bigger than a sparrow and like our humming bird feeders. Hope you see one. They are pretty.
So sorry that you and Reed missed that nice bird to get to see here in this area. We had one on the street behind us a couple of years ago but didn’t find out about it until it was gone. We would have loved to see it too! Strange that they wouldn’t have the building open – so sorry you and Reed had to get so cold. You will have another wonderful adventure soon I’m sure! Where have your ads gone??
Kathy Hanson – I assumed the ads were still posting – they’re not? Hmmmm – I don’t know. Do you have an ad blocker software installed?
Is there an Audubon society group near you? This would be wonderful way to learn more about birding, I went with a group in September and learned so much! Good luck on additional outings to find rare birds as they travel through, that is what I did.
Mary, the ads are coming through all ok to me.
Diane in Central Ohio – that is good news! Thank you!
I love the Cedar Waxwings! Growing up we had a large flowering crab tree. In the winter, at some time, we would get up and the tree would be full of the birds, eating the little crab apples. It was a beautiful sight!
Carmen Ostrander – I had never seen one in person before last week – always thought they were much larger. Very beautiful!