Sunday, September 28, 2014

Bird of the Day: California Towhee on the Mokelumne River

It was a pretty good weekend for birds in the Sierra Nevada. Saw around six new species (for me, anyway), including the White-breasted Nuthatch from yesterday's post. Today's bird was a California Towhee (Melozone crissalis) on the Mokelumne River at the Highway 49 crossing. Actually the crossing was a new discovery for me, as I did not know there was a parking area with river access. How long has that been there?
The Towhee was singing and lurking in an oak tree overhead, and I wasted a few pixels trying to catch a shot, but then it jumped down onto the parking lot for a few moments. It finally hopped onto a boulder and posed against a colorful backdrop of dry weeds and fall foliage. 

California Towhees can be considered a California endemic if you consider both Baja and Alta California (range extends just a little into Oregon). They're common enough, apparently, but I've only just started at this, and this little one was the first to pose for me.

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