Monday, May 14, 2018

Photogenic Rock Wrens

This winter I found several photogenic Rock Wrens.

One photo I've already shared as one of my top 10 photos of 2017: from Ramona on November 27, 2017.

Rock Wren

This bird actually chased me about a landscaped traffic divider and monument sign of a rural gated community. I was able to get several good photos, and the one presented here is actually a slightly different pose than the photo from the link above.

A week later at Lake Hodges I got this photo: December 1, 2017.

Rock Wren

There were a couple of birds well below the cliffs where I usually hear them. They took up winter residence at a cement cistern that was being excavated--perhaps a water transfer station to pump this winter's rain water from Lake Hodges to another area.

My most-recent better-than-average photo of Rock Wren came from the Ramona Grasslands Preserve on January 31, 2018. It has a pleasing background, that adds to the subject.

Rock Wren

Rock Wrens, as their name suggests, love rocky jumbled boulders that accumulate at the bottom of cliffs ("talus"). They also like prominent perches along the upper cliff edge, bobbing on a rock as they stand sentinel against the sky. At 6 inches in length, they are larger than most other wrens, but still quite small birds.

They occur in the Mountain West from southern Canada into Mexico. They withdraw from the northern Great Basin and Rocky Mountain regions in winter, but are otherwise mostly resident from central Washington (east slope of Cascades) southward.

They are more often heard than seen or, at least, more often first heard before they are seen. Their loud, ringing, buzzy call can be heard a quarter of a mile away, a two-syllable pid-zeer, pid-zeer, or che-poo, che-poo.

Flying away low, Rock Wrens have a gray back, a buffy tip to their barred tail, and a cinnamon rump. The gray back often seems to me to have a slightly greenish cast in bright sun. But it is always described by others as gray. Perhaps it is just the contrast with the sparkling granite boulders that makes it appear to have a greenish hue.

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