I cannot sign off from America without a post about its extraordinary bird life. At first, everything sounds so familiar. There are robins, blackbirds, warblers, finches, woodpeckers, nuthatches, tree creepers, dippers, shrikes, nutcrackers, jays, doves, pigeons,orioles, crossbills, larks, eagles, starlings, and so on. But of course they are mostly similarly only in name. Even the so-called European starling is very different to the chap we Europeans know. The American robin is not our robin, the blackbird is red-winged, and so on. We saw so many beautiful birds: the calliope and rufous hummingbirds; Steller’s jays and blue jays; golden eagles and bald eagles and ospreys; wild turkeys and turkey buzzards (did you know that the wild turkey almost became the national symbol but lost to the bald eagle by just one vote?); the American avocet and other waders; snowy egrets and pacific pelicans… I never saw the northern flicker flicker, nor heard the mourning dove mourn, nor the mocking bird mock, and the Common Poorwill sounds like the eternal condition of man. But the greatest thrill came up in the Rocky Mountains National Park when I caught a glimpse of the fellow in the picture; the mountain bluebird. And we thought Walt Disney was making all those colours up!