You Call that a Curve?

As this is officially Flashback Friday, I can finally get to the post I had originally planned for last Friday. Before I do that, a quick self-pat on the back. Runkeeper recently notified me I had reached the 10,000 total miles mark.

Runkeepr 10000 miles

99.9% of that was thanks to tracking my runs since April 2011. That was about 10 years after I had transitioned to this hobby due to some serious injuries in my true love martial arts that signaled those brutal days in the dojo had run their course – new pains/bruises/breaks were coming faster than I could recover from the last ones. So, in actuality, well short of the total miles covered in my brief running career, but those first few years were training to complete the 7 mile Bix7 race where now the roads have been replaced with ultra-trails. My body definitely appreciates this lower impact hobby (although thanks to running I have had two trips via ambulance to the emergency room where I was able to make it there myself during the combat days ha!) Enough about me, bring on the featured feathered friend for flashback Friday.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Our rather menacing looking bird comes to us courtesy of our birding trip along the Texas Gulf Coast back in January 2020. Seems odd to be talking about flashbacks for an outing that occurring a little more than a year ago – in the past that would have been considered fresh out of the camera.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Hit the jump to read more about our menacing looking bird.

We had just dropped a certain someone off at the Mission, TX airport and decided to explore some new places. First on the list was the McAllen Nature Center. For the geography versed individuals out there, you are correct, Mission and McAllen are NOT on the Texas Gulf Coast. Once we spend several days in the South Padre Island area, we head inland along the Rio Grande Valley to enjoy the incredible birding that region has to offer.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

We didn’t know what to really expect at the McAllen Nature Center. Several sites had listed it as a great place to bird. Did some quick research on it and most of the references seemed to focus on the Yoga and Tai Chi events that are held there. Our skepticism was immediately put to rest after two steps out of the RV. Got out, grabbed my camera turned to walk down to the entrance and was immediately welcomed by their Walmart greeter – complete with name tag that said “Hello, my name is Curve-Billed Thrasher”. It graciously allowed me to get a few shots in the tin before thanking us for coming out and heading over to other visitors.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Have to appreciate a site that can produce a +1 a mere 30 seconds into the visit. The first set of shots align to the standard reference shots for this Thrasher. Robin sized, slender frame, long big arc bill along with the brilliant, yet menacing yellow-orange eye. While walking the two miles of trails we came upon this second specimen.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Possibly a younger specimen or maybe just an adult still drying off from the morning shower. Even with that foreboding eye, it looked incredibly cute. I shall call it Mr. Fluffy and it shall be mine. It was quite the character hamming it up for the big glass. Clearly taunting Zoolander, this model could turn LEFT.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

How about we get to some interesting tidbits for our long-billed species. First off, if you want to personally witness one of these Thrashers in the US, you will need to put on your mask and do some traveling. Their year-round region consists of Central American and a small push up into the states just north of that (New Mexico, Arizona and, obviously, Texas). Like all Thrashers, they have rather long tails, strong legs and a thick formidable bill used for foraging through the ground scrub looking for their primary food source – insects.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

I happen have the local Brown Thrasher (link here) and thanks to a previous trip to the Texas Gulf region the Long-Billed variety (link here). In both those comparisons, the Curve-Billed is aptly named. I also have the pleasure of finding the Crissal Thrasher while out at Henderson NV’s Bird Viewing Preserve. That shot is so damn bad I am not even going to give you the link to it! Those Crissals and from what I can tell from the reference sites, the LeConte’s and California have better rights to the Curve moniker. I brought that up to our specimen above and it humbly buried its bill in its feathers. Cornell has an explanation for this – the naturalist William John Swainson had not seen the other varieties when he found his specimen back in 1827. I apologize to Mr. Fluffy for causing undue emotional trauma.

Curve-Billed Thrasher found at McAllen Nature Center in McAllen, TX in January 2020

Leaving you with the back perspective just to round out the full experience (and to appease Ron who is always keeping me on my toes to bring home the angles). Will leave it there for today’s new addition to my NA bird list. Oh, almost forgot, there was a Tai Chi class going on while we were walking the grounds. As it is one of the few styles I have not had experience in, found it quite entertaining and found myself wondering how well it translate onto the mats.

21 thoughts on “You Call that a Curve?”

    1. I have visions of it running into a charging rhino. It may be that they just hate getting their pictures taken.. eh, probably not, just a malcontent bird. Thanks for dropping in B! – hope the lockdown is starting to let up over there, shots are starting to finally flow in the states.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Amazing right! I think we could make this a requirement for all parks if we get on the ball and start a letter campaign. Appreciate you dropping in CJ – as with B. above, hoping your lockdowns will ease some in the coming weeks.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sherry, appreciate the kind words and I am definitely enjoying having more free time to finally devote to the wildlife side of Intrigued. Appreciate you stopping by and joining the conversation.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I double checked just to make sure and yes confirmed, that very same William Swainson – he was quite the busy naturalist back in the late 1820s. I should have watched the second specimen longer to see if it finally brought the feathers under control (giving credence t the bath hypothesis) or if it was just having a bad feather day. Still think it might be a young one. Agreed, that eye coloring gives it a second level of fierceness Thanks for dropping in Sam.


    1. Thank you Lisa! I like to say my running hobby compliments my birding as I can stay out in the field all day and haul my heavy camera rig around. Thanks for dropping by Lisa, appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Cool shots!! Nice texture on the feathers, plus you really did get different angles and possilby different ages of this bird. These birds definitely have an attitude like Brian H. says. I’m so, so far behind in reading your posts–I’m going to try to go back and catch up!

    So…you drop me off at the McAllen Airport and immediately go get a picture of a bird I’ve never seen before! Suspicious! My only consolation is that I have pics of a California Thrasher, although if you visited that great state you would also find them in abundance.


    Liked by 4 people

    1. Holy crap, do my eyes deceive me – is that R O N!?!?!?! For the record, I have never revealed who that certain someone was that may or may not have been in Texas around the same time we were. Pretty much let the cat out of the bag on that one – now everyone will know why you own me bigly hehehe. I had no idea this place was going to use this particular Thrasher as their greeter – honestly – I told Linda repeatedly you were going to be upset if we found birds you didn’t have in the tin yet and she’s like “we are going there and you are going to like it!” You know how she gets when she is on a mission. I forgot you had the California Thrasher – went and checked the maps to see if there was a possibility I tinned it in Lake Tahoe, but it hangs further west than that so your +1 is safe… for now! Thanks for getting to your to-do list.

      Liked by 1 person

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