Friday, April 1, 2016

Another Sign of Spring! Hooded Oriole at Fox Grove

The Hooded Orioles (Icterus cucullatus) are back. The birds spend the winter in southern Mexico and migrate north to breed. They prefer palms for nesting, so they tend to go no farther north than the Central Valley in California and the southern tier states of the Four Corners along with Texas.

The local birders report that some palm trees along the Tuolumne River at Fox Grove east of Modesto is a reliable nesting area, so I searched there last year and got two fuzzy pictures. I check out the grove again today, and saw lots of Starlings and doves in the palms. As I was about to leave, I saw one more dark silhouette that I thought was one more Starling, but it was moving a bit differently than the others. I zoomed in, and it was a Hooded Oriole!
Of course, the pictures are slightly fuzzy again, but that just means I'm going to work a bit harder to get good pictures next time...

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