Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Female Black-chinned Hummingbird and Bonus Furry Animal on the Tuolumne River

Go figure. I identified a Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) for the first time only last Sunday (posted here), and four days later I go walking on a different part of the Tuolumne River, and I see another one, a female this time. A typical case of "you see the things you know; and miss the things you don't know".
I was checking out the progress of the Tuolumne River Parkway trail in Waterford, and was walking down the road to the wastewater treatment facility when I saw it on a large shrub with flowers clearly designed for hummingbirds. I don't know if it is a native species or not, but the flowers are perfectly shaped for hummingbird beaks.
The trail is coming along at a nice pace. It may be completed by October 1st according to the employee I spoke to. I was able to follow the entire path from the treatment plant to the base of the bluffs of the future park that I visit so often, although there is no surfacing on the path yet. The trail will be a delight when it is finished. It will follow the banks of the Tuolumne River from Appling (or River) Park on the east end of town, to South Reinway Park (the park that doesn't actually exist yet) on the west end, a distance of about two miles. It's marvelous that someone is finally recognizing the value of the river to the community.
As for your bonus mammal: as I was taking pictures at the downstream end of the trail, and some movement on the face of the bluff caught my eye. It was a Gray Fox coming down the cliff with lunch in its mouth. As best I can tell, it was a possum, but I'm not sure.
It stopped and checked me out for a moment, then ran down into the willows by the river.

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