How an Enthusiastic New Photographer Made Birding History

A split image showing a blue bird on the left standing on sandy ground and on the right standing on a rocky surface, highlighting its vibrant blue and brown plumage in different environments.

41-year-old musician and school band director Michael Sanchez bought his first camera just a month ago. Last week, while trying to get nice sunrise landscape shots at Hug Point along the Oregon coast, Sanchez took photos of a small, dark-looking bird in the dim dawn light. While not initially realizing it, Sanchez had captured some of the only photos ever of a blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius) in North American history.

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