Monday, January 19, 2015

Bird of the Day: Northern Flicker on a Gloomy Day

Right up front I want to say that these are not the best pictures I'll ever post here. They're pretty fuzzy and gray, and that's after some heavy duty alterations in the brightness and contrast settings. This is life today in the Great Valley. We've had just enough rain to keep the ground moist and the fog thick, but not enough to break the drought. So life right now is a dull shadowy gray color with the rare late afternoon sun sometimes breaking through for a few moments before sunset.

The gloomy weather didn't keep me from trying, though. I headed up along the Tuolumne River to the Joe Domecq Wilderness Park in the lower Sierra Nevada foothills to see what was out and about. I've seen Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) before, but it's been rare that I have caught sharp pictures (mainly these at Chaw'se). But there they were, a number of them flitting about through the trees. I took what pictures I could, as I slogged through the marshy grasses getting wet, cold feet.
We need rain and wind to break up the drought and the inversion layer. There's nothing on the horizon yet, but one can only be optimistic. At least with the fog the soil is staying wet, and perhaps there will be some better grass growth in the prairies in our region, a development that would be good for all of us, both humans and animals. In the meantime enjoy these beautiful birds.

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