I spotted a new bird for my yard list today. A Gray-cheeked Thrush.
I can thank BirdCast for helping me spot and id this bird, which until recently I hadn’t even heard of. BirdCast is regional migration forecast put out by the folks at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Each week during migration season, they let you know what migrants you might expect to see in your region. I like to look at the list of the birds they report are on the move, and if there are any that I’m not familiar with, I look them up. In this case, they listed the Gray-cheeked Thrushes with the Swainson’s Thrushes. I had already noticed several Swainson’s Thrushes passing, through, so I thought it was possible one of these might be with them. And, yay! One showed up!
The Gray-cheeked Thrush looks very similar to the Swainson’s Thrush, except it doesn’t have buffly colored eye ring/spectacles that the Swainson’s has. The Swainson’s also has some of that “buffy” color around the face. Mine was visiting a little recirculating bird pond. It spotted it and took the photographs from a second story window overlooking the water feature.