Singing Spring in the Pacific Northwest and New Zealand

Spring in West Marin — and the Pacific Northwest in general — always meant the return of Swainson’s Thrush singing their hearts out:

One of the things about moving a significant distance from the plants and animals I’m so familiar with is that I am also a long way from the kind knowing that is only possible when one has lived somewhere for a long time. Like any reunion with rarely-seen old friends, I was both thrilled to hear these boisterous birds in both British Columbia and Washington State during our trip in July, and a bit sad to recognize just how much I miss them.

Given the record number of rain days in Auckland this Spring, I haven’t been outside to get amongst the few seasonal markers I do remember: new lambs at nearby Cornwall Park, the magnolias at the Auckland Botanical Garden. So it’s been a joy to hear one from the relative comfort of our living room! And one that reminds me so much of the Swainson’s Thrush:

We started hearing them a few weeks ago and assumed it was the fantails (pīwakawaka in te reo Māori) we started seeing at the same time, but turns out it’s the grey warbler… which has so many names in te reo I’m not sure which to commit to memory.

Perhaps one day these birds too will be known to me as old friends.

 

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