Sunday, July 5, 2015

Western Bluebird Family at the Tuolumne River Bluffs

I was home briefly from my travels (a situation that will be rectified very soon as we hit the road tomorrow), and I wanted to see who was out and about at the future Tuolumne Bluffs Park in Waterford. I saw two kinds of woodpecker, but couldn't get adequate shots of them, but as I was leaving I saw three birds on the wires above. They seemed to be different from each other, and upon closer inspection they were, but the difference was from age and gender, not species.
All three birds were Western Bluebirds (Sialia mexicana), but only one of them was clearly blue from the view I had, the male. I don't know that it was specifically a family grouping, but three birds in close proximity like this made it seem likely. The female is above, and the juvenile is in the picture below.
I hadn't been to the future park in more than a month, so there were some big changes. The groundbreaking ceremony for the park took place about two weeks ago, and graders have begun leveling the dirt parking area on the bluff. I am feeling ambiguous about the park in the sense that they will be paving over what had once been an open field, but they don't seem hell-bent on destroying the old trees yet, and the finished park will provide access to the river trail via a metal stairwell. The walk will follow the Tuolumne River upstream for two miles to Appling Park, and I am really looking forward to some explorations along that route when it is finished.

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