Mega Rare Blue Rock Thrush Spotted on Oregon Beach Is First Sighting in US History


Owing to personal interest, GNN is partial to stories of rare bird sightings, and news from Oregon recently broke the story of a ‘mega-rare’ bird never seen before in either the state or the country.

It wasn’t made by a birder, but rather an ordinary talented photographer named Michael Sanchez, who was on the beach one morning near Hug Point Falls when he saw a blue and chestnut bird hopping along the rocks.

“I happened to look behind me toward the ocean and saw this cute little bird standing on the sand,” Sanchez told KOIN 6. “The sun wasn’t fully up yet, so to my eyes, it looked like a little black bird. It posed for me for a minute or two, and then it flew up to the rocks. It stayed there for another moment or so, and then it flew away toward the east. I didn’t think much more of it than that.”

In the growing light, it seemed to Sanchez as if the bird was black, but going over the pictures at his house, he realized it was much more colorful.

Putting some pictures up on social media, they made their way via a friend to a local birding group, where one member shared it to rapturous applause.

“Spectacular find. A banger record even if nobody can relocate the bird,” said one commenter.

“I see they are year round in Japan but seem to leave SE Asia in the summer. Would this bird be a migrant from last year heading north from a wintering ground in southern North America? Seems like quite a haul to cross the entire Pacific,” said another.

KOIN 6 spoke with a member of the Oregon Birding Association who said that the only other time a blue rock thrush, native to Europe and Asia, has been seen in North America was in British Colombia in 1997. But this record was eventually written off.

With the clarity of Sanchez’ pictures, it’s hard to dispute the evidence that, as the commenter speculated, this bird may have come all the way across the Pacific.

Birders have flocked to Hug Point in recent days, reports KOIN, in an attempt to find Sanchez’s blue rock thrush. However, no other sightings have been reported.

Some association members are speculating that this tiny bird may have hitched a ride on a ship, but Hug Point Falls is an awfully long way from any large harbor.

As for Sanchez, he didn’t have any interest in birds, but upon witnessing the reaction to his photographs, he regretted not taking more.

“This really has opened my eyes”, he said. “I guess I’m a birder at this point,” Sanchez said. “I think I’m in the club.”

This article by Andy Corbley was first published by The Good News Network on 1 May 2024. Lead Image: Credit Michael Sanchez – fair use.

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