Friday, September 18, 2015

A Little Flycatcher along the Tuolumne River

I see a lot of Black Phoebes (Sayornis nigricans) in our region, and somehow I've only posted about them once. They are a member of the tyrant flycatcher family, one of the most diverse groups in the Americas, with more than 400 species. There are only three species of Phoebe in the United States, though. They are sweet little birds, perching on branches and fences near sources of water. They'll see a bug, soar down and catch it and sweep back to their perch. They are a western species, found primarily in California and the border states. Their range does extend south, though, all the way through Mexico and into South America as far as Argentina.

I saw this little one along the Tuolumne River Parkway, the short stretch of trail being built along the river in my little town at the boundary between the Sierra Nevada foothills and the Great Valley. It's marvelous that our community is recognizing the value of a beautiful stretch of river. It's going to be a nice place for relaxing, exercising, and learning about the natural history of this biologically rich environment. It's expected to be completed in the next month or two.

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