Thursday at Mokelumne Day Use

Jim Rowoth

Needing to get out of the house, I visited the Mokelumne Day Use Area this morning.  Overall, it seemed pretty quiet, but I did have a few nice sightings, including a couple of pretty close encounters of the turkey kind.  There was hardly anyone else in the park, and I found much less litter than on prior visits—either the decreased number of visitors has yielded less litter, or much of it remains, but is now covered by fallen (mainly oak) leaves.  

Normally at this time of the year, there would be a lot of fish activity, but I only detected about a half dozen, one recently expired and being consumed by resident Turkey Vultures.  

I had singletons of Varied Thrush, Rock Wren (heard only), White-throated Sparrow, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  Unfortunately, I failed to charge my camera battery last night, so I was unable to get any photos of the unbelievably cooperative gnatcatcher.  However, the battery still had juice earlier, when an adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk zoomed into the alders next to me and sat for a spell, giving killer looks at his sharp shins.  He then hopped down even closer and sat next to the bank for what seemed forever.  I got lots of photos.  I expected him to fly off as soon as I twitched, but he remained calm even as I slowly shifted from camera to iPhone to binoculars and back.  Finally, I ended up walking slowly away, leaving him by the river as I continued my birding.  I looked back a few times, and he was still there.  Such a treat!

You can look at my eBird list with photos at

I hope Dave Bender isn’t just teasing us again about this weekend’s weather—bring on the rain!

Jim Rowoth

Jim Rowoth
Stockton, CA

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