Northern Flicker on the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail
I had an extraordinary walk by the river last week. Whether one gets pictures of birds can depend on so many things: the attention span of the photographer, the weather, the season, the time of day. I hadn't been seeing many birds on the last few walks, and I expected no different on this walk. I was mistaken. I ran across half a dozen species of birds in just one brush bower near the trail (I wrote about the birds in my blog Geotripper).
The first bird I saw on the river was a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus). These members of the Woodpecker clan are one of the more strikingly colorful birds in our area. They don't act like woodpeckers all that often. They spend much of their time on the ground digging for insects in the dirt.
I've been learning a lot about birds during the last two years, but one area that I'm lagging is bird calls. I have problems hearing certain high-pitched frequencies, but I always know if there are Northern Flickers about. They have a distinctive call, and aren't afraid to utilize it.
The Tuolumne River is a treasure, and our town is building a two mile long parkway trail to highlight the value of the waterway here in the Great Valley of California. I'm looking forward to being able to walk the trail as a loop rather than an out and back walk past the sewage treatment center. The trail will probably be completed in the next three or four weeks. Come and check it out sometime!