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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The table is set

Today I resolved to get a photo of the Varied Thrush plucking a grape from the branch I have them impaled on. I wasted all morning and barely saw the bird, but every time I left for a minute to get a drink, or go to the bathroom, etc, I'd come back and see a grape or two missing. I started out with 12 grapes and by the time the branch had only 6 left I was so frustrated. As I waited, I saw a Sharp-shinned Hawk come and perch near the grapes.

But he seemed only interesting in bathing...

Speaking of bathing, I got distracted watching hummingbirds bathe and while I was thus engaged, 2 grapes disappeared from the branch.

Then a birder (Harry Forbes) who drove from San Antonio today to see the bird, a lifer for him, joined me mid-afternoon in my vigil. I tried everything I could think of. I turned on sprinklers, tried to flush it, tried to call it. Nothing worked. I figured it was stuffed full of grapes and resting, with no need to be out foraging. (In winter their diet consists mostly of berries.) But I still figured before it retired for the night it would crave one last grape.

Finally, around 6 PM it came in for a grape. Harry was so excited he snapped non-stop, which may have slowed the bird down and made it a bit nervous. It paced and circled.....

By the time Harry had snapped over 600 photos of the action, I feared he'd miss the bird grabbing a grape. His memory card would be full, or his camera battery dead. But he was well prepared, and did catch the bird nabbing the grape. Here's all I got, after the millisecond act.....

Ah well, tomorrow's another day, and for me, another opportunity.

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