Look who showed up instead

I was out alone on the Scrub Ridge Trail at Merritt Island NWR looking for Scrub Jays, but having no luck. Then, halfway along the trail, I heard a lovely song coming from deep in the thick scrub right next to me. It didn’t sound like a Scrub Jay, but I had no idea who it was. It kept singing louder and louder as it got closer to the trail. Suddenly, this delightfully plump Eastern Towhee popped out onto a bare branch and stood there staring at me!  In just a moment he flew off again, but what a sweet encounter!

Click HERE on eBird to listen to the Eastern Towhee‘s song, and learn more.

25 thoughts on “Look who showed up instead

  1. Within the last ten years, we’ve had western Spotted Towhees move into our neighborhood on the western edge of Denver. They are charming neighbors! It’s interesting how similar they look and yet how different their calls are.
    Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I can honestly say I have had the exact same experience, BJ…how great is that! I was on a trail in the Merritt Island NWR, looking for the Florida scrubjay, which would’ve been a lifer for me. We were instead greeted by the eastern towhee, and what a delightful meeting it was. Thanks for this marvelous experience, one that we have shared. I like this photo because the bird has such an expression of indignancy.

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    • Wow! What a remarkable coincidence that we had the exact same thing occur in the same location, Jet, especially considering all of your global travels! – how fun! Although, as they say “there are really no such things as coincidences“. It was apparently meant to be!☺️

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  3. I do love to visit new locations with the idea of shooting pictures, without aiming on only one species. One of they reasons I do not seek for a certain species of bird is because I enjoy photographing every bird that I can see if I’m holding my camera. Then, surprises are more frequent because you might have gotten a picture that is precious to your taste, just having in mind a certain bird. How many times you had a Gorgeous male Towhee staring at you before? Good shot, Carol. 🙂

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    • I love your thoughts on this, HJ, as always! Although I’ve seen Eastern Towhees foraging on the ground a couple of times, from further away, I certainly have never been face-to-face with one like this before!☺️


  4. Thanks for sharing your lovely little mindful experience BJ with this little bird. I love when a bird comes up to you and just looks at you and then departs, it is so special. It is often that we pursue a particular bird and are graced by an unexpected find. I have spent hours pursuing particular difficult birds only to return frustrated, and then be walking on another day, and unexpectedly see the bird right before me in good light, as a gift granted.by the Giver of all Gifts 🙂

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  5. Fantastic! The Eastern Towhee is one of the few birds I remember my first encounter with. I was on a trail looking for any birds I could find when one of these popped out on the ground just ahead of me. At the time I had no idea what it was. The closest I could come up with was a robin but it obviously wasn’t one. When I got home I immediately pulled out a field guide to ID it. A simple enough encounter but the memory has stuck with me. Now I remember that every time I see one, which isn’t nearly often enough. And the photo I created of it that day is still my best image of one, though I’d love to create some better ones. 🙂

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  6. These fellas are so handsome, what an awesome encounter, and I love the composition, he was flirting with you!! 😉 On the Scrub Jays, that was one of my hopes in sighting while in Florida this past winter, and I didn’t luck out. Some day I hope!

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