Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bullock's Oriole Female on the Tuolumne River (plus a bonus California Towhee doing battle)

There's this subjective bias that pops up, especially during political years, where the media will comment endlessly about what some public figure is wearing, while more or less ignoring what the person has to say. And needless to say (but I will), those public figures are invariably women. It's especially evident when commentators refer (fairly or not) that a woman is "eye candy". I was guilty of this sort of judgement yesterday, but it had nothing to do with media or politics.

I had a really productive walk along the Tuolumne Parkway Trail where the river flows into the Great Valley. I got close up shots of a juvenile Turkey Vulture, I saw River Otters for the first time in my life, and I watched in concerned amusement (is that a thing?) as what I think was a California Towhee did vicious battle with himself in a car's side view mirror (above). I distracted the poor thing enough to cause it to fly away, and went on.
A male Bullock's Oriole at Merced Falls in April 2015
Then there was some other bird up in the brush, so I snapped a shot and forgot about it as I next saw the otters in the river. Later, I realized it wasn't a finch or a sparrow, and being the amateur that I am, I couldn't find it in the field guides. That's because I wasn't looking for pictures of females! It appears to be a female Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii). In bird world, it is the males who most often are ornately decorated with intense colors, and the orioles are no exception. Mrs. Geotripper and I have seen a couple of orioles in the region, but I've never noticed the females before. Now I'll have to pay better attention, and not be so subjectively biased!

Addendum: Two days later I walk again, and see four more Orioles! Got one half-decent picture...

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