25 March 2014

Sacramento blues.... yellows and oranges

I haven't ventured far from home lately but that hasn't stopped a variety of springs sightings from coming to me.

On a weekend visit to Cosumnes River Preserve, we picked up new arrivals such as BULLOCK'S ORIOLE and CASPIAN TERN.  Although not a new arrival, this SONG SPARROW was too busy counter-singing a nearby male that it paid absolutely no attention to me:

SWAINSON'S HAWKS have really been streaming by in the last week or two.  The most reliable place, I'm finding, is simply at home.  I've tallied 17 so far.

Speaking of sightings from home, I've tallied 54 species in the yard so far this month.  Some quick math and it looks like I average 16 species per day.  One of those, the RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, has been seen on 4 different occasions so far.  Here is a male from earlier today:

A quick check at William Land Park (up in Sacramento) yielded this hybrid NORTHERN FLICKER:

... and this WESTERN TANAGER.  This park has been fairly reliable for tanagers this winter which is quite unusual given that they're rare at that season:

Along with the temps reaching 80 degrees, I've been enjoying the emergence of more butterflies lately.  A common species, often seen floating around town, is the WESTERN TIGER SWALLOWTAIL:

Another widespread species but less than half the size of the swallowtail is the GRAY HAIRSTREAK:

This distant COMMON RINGLET was up in Gates Canyon this morning (Solano County):

However, the highlight in Gates Canyon this morning (besides hearing MOUNTAIN QUAIL calling from the hillside) was this PACIFIC ORANGETIP:

I believe today was the first time I'd ever seen one of these butterflies perched!