|What does this expression mean?|
Saturday, May 30, 2015
can't all be Golden Eagles. I'm on the road and seeing a few new species during my travels. I prefer wilderness/natural settings, but sometimes you see things in the midst of urbanity. There was a lot of bird noise outside my motel window this morning, so I ventured forth into the Motel Wilderness to see who was out and about. The "wilderness" was a grass/sagebrush meadow behind the motel at the south end of town. Among the House Finches and English Sparrows I saw an unfamiliar sparrow. I got several decent shots and headed back upstairs to see who it was.
It turned out to be a Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). It's not rare, and they live in California too, but this is the first one I've seen and identified. According to the Cornell guide, it is so distinctive that it is the only member of its genus in the United States. The head markings certainly caught my eye.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
The high country of Yosemite National Park is just beginning to come into spring. The snow melted early and the spring will be short, but the woods are starting to come alive with bird songs. We took a short camping trip last week, taking advantage of someone's canceled camp reservations, which gave us time to explore Glacier Point Road. There is a nice little meadow near Bridalveil Creek that is a nice stop to gather in the peace and quiet before braving the crowds at Glacier Point. It's a nice spot for spotting birds.
The Yellow-rumped Warblers are common birds all across North America, although they are only seen during the migration season in parts of the midwestern states. In their breeding season, they are one of more colorful birds you'll see in the region excepting maybe the Tanagers.
|How Yosemite looks without granite cliffs!|
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Stanislaus Audubon Society publishes a guide called "The Birding Sites of Stanislaus and Merced Counties" (available through the website or from the store at the Great Valley Museum). It's a great resource for finding birding locations in our region, and it had one almost cryptic passage about Fox Grove, a fishing access park on the Tuolumne River between Modesto and Waterford. It mentioned only one kind of bird: the Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus). I hadn't seen any yet in my birding adventures, so I stopped by the park for a few minutes this afternoon. I didn't really think I would see anything, but the sun was setting, the birds were chirping, and a hawk was screeching in the trees above. I saw a few other birds, but then I saw what looked like an oddly colored bird very high in the palm trees, and snapped a few shots. They are a bit fuzzy, but I realized a short time later that I had my first Hooded Oriole! I'll be working as I always do to get sharper pictures the next time around.
Saturday, May 2, 2015
Compare how it looked in March. The pond has water, but perhaps not as much as it should (it's sometimes hard to judge, as the outlet has suffered some erosion damage so it may not be possible to completely fill the pond anymore). It's one of our favorite spots for a few minutes of serenity that's not all that far from home.