Friday, January 15, 2016

Cooper's Hawk on the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail

The press of a new semester and other complications have kept the birding expeditions to a minimum of late, but I got down to the Tuolumne River today to check on the progress of the Tuolumne River Parkway trail. It's going slowly, but there have been some improvements at the western end at Reinway Park. With the stairway access completed, it's now possible to walk a loop instead of out and back.

I didn't see all that many birds, but I think I saw the same hummingbird three different times. I was concentrating on getting pictures, but I had that feeling that I was being watched, perhaps in the way I was watching the hummingbird. It took a while, but I finally saw the hawk perched in the oak tree on the slope above. To the best of my knowledge it was a juvenile Cooper's Hawk (the "best of my knowledge" is a limited thing; it could have been a Sharp-shinned Hawk or other species)
This Cooper's Hawk patrols the section of river between the water treatment plant and the stairwell. I say so only because I've seen this particular hawk a half dozen times, generally around the same three or four trees. It's certainly not a bad environment for a Cooper's, as there are many small birds (their main prey) living in the underbrush along the river.

The River Trail is certainly looking different these days. The trees are barren of leaves, but the grass is thick and green. It's been a while since things have been green like this. We have a few more storms on the way, and it would be nice if we could have an above-average year. The birds would appreciate a bit more growth along the river too.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful images! I can't wait to check out this River Trail.