Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Birds of the Day: A Descent of Acorn Woodpeckers along the Tuolumne River

The naming for groupings of birds is a fascinating linguistic affair. Apparently they date from the Middle Ages or earlier. My favorites so are are an ostentation of peacocks and an exaltation of larks. In any case, I was walking along the Tuolumne River in my home village this morning and saw a descent of Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus). They made themselves known long before I could see them, causing a racket in the branches above. The lighting was a challenge with the sun behind them. I've had to work with the saturation and contrast to get them visible in these photos.
The Tuolumne River is famous as the "other" Yosemite river, with her headwaters in the beautiful Tuolumne Meadows area near Tioga Pass. I live where the river emerges from the Sierra Nevada foothills onto the plains of the Great Valley. Our town ignored the presence of the river for a long time, but recently constructed a half-mile walking path along the banks under a wonderful canopy of old oak trees. Apparently there are plans to extend it downstream. That would be a nice development!

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