Ervin phoned Saturday (January 7th), although I actually had it in mind that it was Friday, with a piece of hot news. I thought he’d found something good while he was roaming Cape Island but no, Robert Turner who lives and birds out Lockeport way, had found an Eastern Bluebird of all things, in January of all times and in Nova Scotia of all places. Bluebirds are hardy creatures, most chats are, and so it was reasonably happy, hanging with a bunch of American Robins at the end of Stuarts Road, no apostrophe.
The roads were slick but ok and Ervin and I were soon with Robert, generously being guided to the spot. When you set off on a twitch, you never know how long a bird is going to take to find, this was one of those that balances out the lengthy wait or the expanding circle search, it took seconds. Unlike Eastern Bluebirds I’ve encountered before, this bird was quite comfortable with us and allowed us to move into a better position for photos, never close but that is what long lenses are for. The shots are pleasing and show well the features ruling out Western Bluebird but, perhaps more significantly, Mountain Bluebird, for it was on January 7th in 2016 that I last saw our CSI Mountain Bluebirds offering a nice symmetry of dates.
Whenever I see our bluebirds it occurs to me that, if you do a re-colour but keep the tail, then you are not far off that Asian prize, Red-flanked Bluetail, a species that seems to be coming to North America more and more and even inland. It just shows you how all the bird families around the world are so closely related, even just variations on a theme but please, don’t tell that to the lumpers!