Sunday, January 20, 2019
Friday, January 18, 2019
Red-tailed Hawk, and the Ring-billed Gull) the birds were perched just above the trail or walkway and I couldn't avoid walking by.
I see two or three American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) almost every time I walk the Tuolumne Parkway Trail where the river leaves the Sierra Foothills. Two of them seem to be a pair. And they are usually pretty skittish, flying off even when I am still far away. Today, the male watched me as I approached, but I kept my head down and didn't stop until I was past. I slowly turned around and got an eyeful from the small falcon. But it didn't fly away. I guess I lost that stare-down...
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Tundra Swans that we saw near Williams. We were preparing to cross through the Coast Ranges to get to Highway 101, and Clear Lake offered the most interesting way, bird-wise and geology-wise. Clear Lake is partially dammed by lava flows, and the Mt. Konocti volcano looms over the waters. It's only a few thousand years old and magma chambers in the region are still simmering deep underground.
I always have to remind myself which grebe I'm looking at. The Western Grebe and the Clarke's Grebe were once thought to be the same species, but there were enough differences that they were officially separated. The main tell in the field is that a Clarke's Grebe has white around the striking red eye, while the Western Grebe has black.
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Phainopeplas are birds of the southwest deserts and they are not abundant in our area, as we are at the northern limits of their range. There have been a couple of them living along the Parkway Trail, but they may have moved on when the elderberries gave out last month.
Happy National Bird Day! What's your favorite bird at the moment?
Friday, January 4, 2019
But the next day, on New Year's morning, it happened again! It was perched just fifteen feet or so above the trail on one of the old snags. And it watched patiently while I took pictures again.