Friday, July 13, 2018
Monday, July 9, 2018
There are at least two Green Herons (Butorides virescens) who lurk along my section of the Tuolumne River where I walk most mornings. I've been observing them for three years now, but pictures are a bit rare because they tend to flush as I walk by on the trail. They're usually flying overhead.
I took an "establishing shot" and as I looked at it later, I realized how lucky I was to spot it. Can you see it in the picture below?
According to EBird, they range farther north than any other flycatcher. They are resident non-migrating birds in the desert southwest (which by coincidence is where I've seen a lot of them).
Friday, July 6, 2018
There are some birds, well, really a lot of birds that I don't get to see. At least not when I'm on the home turf along the Tuolumne River. Now, this makes a certain amount of sense, considering that the United States is home to more than 1,100 species of birds, and only 306 of them have ever been sighted in our county. But some species are more unfair than others. Take a look at the distribution map below. It's for the Green-tailed Towhee (Pipilo chlorurus). See how a long white barren strip runs down the Central Valley, but orange (breeding), and blue (non-breeding) areas completely surround our valley? I looked it up, and in 2013 one poor individual wandered down into our county and was immediately set upon by dozens of birders!
Luckily though, I've been given the opportunity to do a lot of traveling, and when we camped at Mesa Verde National Park last month, I was privileged to see a pair of the Green-tailed Towhees in our campsite. Apparently this was a rare enough sight as well since these Towhees more often hide deep in thick underbrush and aren't seen all that often.
Thursday, July 5, 2018
(Junco hyemalis caniceps) is not found in my region. The genetic code of these little sparrows must be rather malleable! One does wonder why the variants aren't considered separate species.