Mountain Bluebirds Building Nests in Tuolumne Meadows at Yosemite
I've never claimed to be the most successful birding enthusiast around. I'm still seeing common birds for the first time. Case in point: today was the first time I've seen a Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides). I've seen their valley cousins, the Western Bluebirds, hundreds of times now, but this was the first time for these brightly colored Sierra Nevada residents.
We were on the last day of our nearly two-week excursion across the southwest, and we came home via Tioga Pass and Yosemite National Park. We stopped at Tuolumne Meadows to take in the beautiful scenery when I saw something blue rustling through the grass. It was a bluebird, actually two of them, male and female, and it looked like they we picking up nesting materials. They were moving fast, so I only got a few blurry shots, especially of the female.The fact that her beak was full of grass strands is what told me they were doing nest preparations.
They both suddenly flew up into the tree overhead and I searched until I found the crevice far above that they were using for a nest. The Mountain Bluebirds nest in tree cavities, but they don't carve them. They usually take over abandoned woodpecker holes, and as such are in competition with Tree Swallows.
I've always been partial to the color blue, and hope that now that I've seen a pair of the Mountain Bluebirds that there will be many more! It's always a good excuse to head up into Yosemite in any case.