Monday, January 26, 2015

Bird of the Day: Pygmy Nuthatch in the Bristlecone Forest of the White Mountains

At Geotripper, I've been starting a series on the parts of the Sierra Nevada that aren't Yosemite, I've been going through the fall field trip files looking for pictures and remembered there were some birds that didn't make it onto this blog at the time. They included a fast-moving group of small birds at the Schulman Grove of Bristlecone Pines in the White Mountains across the Owens Valley from the Sierra Nevada.
I got the one semi-clear shot in the trees of the Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), and thought that was going to be it, so I went hiking for awhile. When I got back to the visitor center, I was surprised to see a small flock of them swarming the picnic tables. They weren't after crumbs. It had rained overnight, and they were drinking from the water droplets on the tables.
The Pygmy Nuthatch tends to live in deciduous and ponderosa forests at somewhat lower elevations, for instance on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The Cornell site suggests they sometimes range up to 10,000 feet, which means these birds were behaving, as it was 9,846 feet at the visitor center.
I thought I had captured an adorable picture of two of them, but in the fine tradition of all attempts at portraits, they both blinked. I'll leave it as two friends laughing at a funny joke...
The last shot is one of them drinking.

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