Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hooded Oriole on the Tuolumne River

I got what for me is a rare sight on my morning walk today: a male Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus). I've seen them nesting in the palm trees at Fox Grove where Geer Road crosses the Tuolumne several miles downstream, and I've seen one at the other end of the trail on a single occasion, but that's it.
There are a bunch of different bird species gorging themselves on wild elderberries along the trail lately: Bullock's Orioles, Robins, California Scrub Jays, Western Kingbirds, Starlings, and a few others. I've been finishing the exercise part of my walk, and then just standing under the oaks to see who's lurking nearby. Today's visitor was a pleasant surprise.

The Hooded Orioles are a migrant tropical species, and I live pretty close to the northern edge of their range. In a few weeks they will leave the area for their winter homes in Mexico.

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