Great-tailed Grackle at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge
Great-tailed Grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) were originally confined to semitropical environments, but they do very well with humans and irrigated fields, and their range has expanded northward even as many other birds have declined precipitously. Although our region is north of the "official" range of the bird, I've seen them regularly on the campus at CSU Stanislaus. Their arrival is an omen of spring. It was still late February when I saw this female at the Bittern Marsh Trail at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge. They aren't the ones with the "great tail". It's just long. The tale of the male is just ridiculous (check it out here).
PS: I noticed that this is my 500th post at Geotripper's California Birds! It doesn't get nearly the traffic that Geotripper gets, but I appreciate everyone who stops by.