Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bird of the Day: Rock Wren at Turlock Lake

Turlock Lake State Recreation Area is a reservoir that stores irrigation water for the valley floordownstream. It consists of low hills composed of gravel and sand washed down ancient rivers of the Sierra Nevada. The site is mostly composed of grassy hills with occasional oak woodlands, and some landscaped trees and shrubs around the parking areas. We've not fully explored the birdwatching possibilities of the park, but we occasionally stop by, especially since seeing the Bald Eagle there last November. We stopped in for a few minutes the other day, and saw a Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus) on the fencing along the high ridge above the reservoir. It was kind enough to stay still for several shots.
I got to know wrens in another place and time. Canyon Wrens were a constant companion during my journey down the Colorado River in the summer of 2013. Their lilting song was one of the most beautiful and haunting sounds I have ever heard. This Rock Wren wasn't singing for us, but it was nice to see one up close. As their name suggests, they usually live in rocky settings like talus slopes. There weren't a lot of rock piles where we were at, so I wasn't completely sure of my identification, but they apparently will use buildings for nesting at times, and we were near a few structures.
As usual, I am open to gentle corrections in my identification of birds!

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