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Pileated Woodpecker, Redwood Regional Park

Glen Tepke
 

There was a male Pileated Woodpecker in the Alameda County portion of Redwood RP near Oakland around noon today.  It was seen from the Orchard Trail, about half way between the junctions with the Bridal and French trails, working in a large madrone on the north side of the trail (the right side if you are going uphill). Note that this is a fairly steep trail.  It was remarkably confiding, seemingly unperturbed and continuing to work on its excavation even when a very loud group of hikers stopped to admire it.   This sighting was also unusual for its location near the southern end of the park; I believe most PIWO sightings in Redwood have been further north and higher on the west ridge, in the Contra Costa County part of the park.  I will add some photos to an eBird checklist later on tonight.

Later in my hike I heard another (or the same) Pileated Woodpecker calling from the slope of the east ridge just north of the playground.

I briefly looked for the "Pink-sided" Dark-eyed Junco that has been reported a couple times on eBird from Canyon Meadow (next to the main parking lot at the end of the southern entrance road) but did not see it.

Good birding

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz

John Harris
 

Glen and all,
That is also my impression, that most sightings are in Contra Costa. When I
lived in the Bay area, I had a couple sightings farther south. On April 3,
1988, my wife and I saw one while we were hiking along the Graham Trail. It
was flying toward the West Ridge Trail, where it disappeared from view. In
those days, there was no East Bay birding list serve, let alone Ebird. I
believe I called a bird box, and also reported it to American Birds, the
predecessor of North American Birds. I believe that the species was
detected the following winter during the Oakland CBC. I also had one at the
intersection of the Graham and Dunn trails. It was hammering on a dead tree
there (which also had nesting Pygmy Nuthatch that year).
John Harris
Oakdale, formerly Oakland

On Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 4:21 PM Glen Tepke <g.tepke@...> wrote:

There was a male Pileated Woodpecker in the Alameda County portion of
Redwood RP near Oakland around noon today. It was seen from the Orchard
Trail, about half way between the junctions with the Bridal and French
trails, working in a large madrone on the north side of the trail (the
right side if you are going uphill). Note that this is a fairly steep
trail. It was remarkably confiding, seemingly unperturbed and
continuing to work on its excavation even when a very loud group of
hikers stopped to admire it. This sighting was also unusual for its
location near the southern end of the park; I believe most PIWO
sightings in Redwood have been further north and higher on the west
ridge, in the Contra Costa County part of the park. I will add some
photos to an eBird checklist later on tonight.

Later in my hike I heard another (or the same) Pileated Woodpecker
calling from the slope of the east ridge just north of the playground.

I briefly looked for the "Pink-sided" Dark-eyed Junco that has been
reported a couple times on eBird from Canyon Meadow (next to the main
parking lot at the end of the southern entrance road) but did not see it.

Good birding

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz



Glen Tepke
 

Thanks, John, for the historical records.  EBird shows only nine records for Alameda County (including yours and mine).  All but two are from Redwood RP.

Photos of the aforementioned Pileated Woodpecker are now on eBird:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S61218909

Also, the "Pink-sided" Junco records from Canyon Meadow in the park a few days ago have now vanished from eBird, so that appears to have been a false alarm.  Not the first for that often misidentified form.

NB: I misspelled the name of the Bridle Trail in my original post.  I guess the trail is for horses, though I'm sure brides are also welcome.

Good birding,

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz

On 11/4/2019 6:43 PM, John Harris wrote:


Glen and all,
That is also my impression, that most sightings are in Contra Costa. When
I lived in the Bay area, I had a couple sightings farther south. On April
3, 1988, my wife and I saw one while we were hiking along the Graham
Trail. It was flying toward the West Ridge Trail, where it disappeared
from view. In those days, there was no East Bay birding list serve, let
alone Ebird. I believe I called a bird box, and also reported it to
American Birds, the predecessor of North American Birds. I believe that
the species was detected the following winter during the Oakland CBC. I
also had one at the intersection of the Graham and Dunn trails. It was
hammering on a dead tree there (which also had nesting Pygmy Nuthatch that
year).
John Harris
Oakdale, formerly Oakland


On Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 4:21 PM Glen Tepke < g.tepke@... > wrote:


There was a male Pileated Woodpecker in the Alameda County portion of
Redwood RP near Oakland around noon today.  It was seen from the Orchard
Trail, about half way between the junctions with the Bridal and French
trails, working in a large madrone on the north side of the trail (the
right side if you are going uphill). Note that this is a fairly steep
trail.  It was remarkably confiding, seemingly unperturbed and
continuing to work on its excavation even when a very loud group of
hikers stopped to admire it.   This sighting was also unusual for its
location near the southern end of the park; I believe most PIWO
sightings in Redwood have been further north and higher on the west
ridge, in the Contra Costa County part of the park.  I will add some
photos to an eBird checklist later on tonight.

Later in my hike I heard another (or the same) Pileated Woodpecker
calling from the slope of the east ridge just north of the playground.

I briefly looked for the "Pink-sided" Dark-eyed Junco that has been
reported a couple times on eBird from Canyon Meadow (next to the main
parking lot at the end of the southern entrance road) but did not see it.

Good birding

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz

Joe Morlan
 

My impression is that past Pileated records in the East Bay could be
correlated with major wildfires which may have displaced them.

On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 00:37:42 -0800, "Glen Tepke" <g.tepke@...>
wrote:

Thanks, John, for the historical records.  EBird shows only nine records for Alameda County (including yours and mine).  All but two are from Redwood RP.
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA

Aaron Maizlish
 

Two years ago (in March I believe) i was following up on a reported Pileated, and I spoke to a ranger at the Canyon Meadows Staging Area who said that one male had been there all winter. She seemed to know what she was talking about and pointed to the general area on the slope where it was seen or heard regularly. I never did find it.

Aaron Maizlish

On Nov 6, 2019, at 8:53 AM, Joe Morlan <jmorlan@...> wrote:

My impression is that past Pileated records in the East Bay could be
correlated with major wildfires which may have displaced them.

On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 00:37:42 -0800, "Glen Tepke" <g.tepke@...>
wrote:

Thanks, John, for the historical records. EBird shows only nine records for Alameda County (including yours and mine). All but two are from Redwood RP.
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Glen Tepke
 

If Pileated Woodpeckers in the East Bay were dispersing there from other areas, wouldn't you expect records to be spread out at various sites throughout the area?  EBird shows a distinct cluster of records in Redwood RP and immediately adjacent sites (Joaquin Miller Park and Pinehurst Road), 17 records in all, spread pretty evenly throughout the year.  A quick search of EBB shows roughly half of the PIWO reports are from this area.  And I recall a few other records from this area from the days before eBird and even before EBB.  EBird also shows a couple of other smaller and less concentrated clusters in the East Bay:  Tilden/Wildcat Canyon with five records and Mt. Diablo/Diablo Foothills with four.

I've always thought that there must be a small - one or two pairs? - resident population in the Redwood/Pinehurst area, though I am not aware of any evidence of breeding.  Bay Area Birds (Lukas, 2012) says "There are also hints that a few birds might breed in Redwood Regional Park in the Berkeley-Oakland hills but they are observed rarely there and the habitat might be too limited for successful breeding."  The Breeding Bird Atlas of Contra Costa County (Glover, 2009) lists possible breeding in this area (and nowhere else in the county), while the Alameda County Breeding Bird Atlas (Richmond et al, 2011) does not list PIWO. California Birds: Their Status and Distribution (Small, 1994) includes "and very recently to Alameda and Contra Costa counties" in its description of PIWO's range.  Of course, both theories could be true - a resident population in the Redwood/Pinehurst area, with dispersing birds accounting for the other East Bay records.  And the residents could be descendants of birds dispersed to that area by fires.

Interesting stuff.

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz

On 11/6/2019 8:59 AM, Aaron Maizlish wrote:
Two years ago (in March I believe) i was following up on a reported Pileated, and I spoke to a ranger at the Canyon Meadows Staging Area who said that one male had been there all winter. She seemed to know what she was talking about and pointed to the general area on the slope where it was seen or heard regularly. I never did find it.

Aaron Maizlish
On Nov 6, 2019, at 8:53 AM, Joe Morlan <jmorlan@...> wrote:

My impression is that past Pileated records in the East Bay could be
correlated with major wildfires which may have displaced them.

On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 00:37:42 -0800, "Glen Tepke" <g.tepke@...>
wrote:

Thanks, John, for the historical records. EBird shows only nine records for Alameda County

Bill Bousman
 

Sorry, this was meant for the entire group.

Bill


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Pileated Woodpecker, Redwood Regional Park
Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2019 15:18:30 -0800
From: Bill Bousman <barlowi@...>
To: Glen Tepke <g.tepke@...>



Folks:

A few years ago, I compared the recent breeding bird atlases with the era of Joseph Grinnell for the nine S.F. Bay area counties.  I published my conclusions in Western Birds in 2007 {Western Birds 38:102-136, 2007).  Below is the paragraph that summarizes the status of Pileated Woodpecker in the Bay area at that time.

Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus). The Pileated Woodpecker was considered rare by Grinnell and Wythe (1927), with observations noted from parts of Sonoma and Marin counties. These records suggest that this woodpecker may have been a sporadic breeder there, although there is no specific evidence. The first clear evidence of breeding of this vocal woodpecker in the Bay area was in Napa County prior to 1944 (Hemphill 1944). From the 1960s to the 1980s, breeding was also observed in Sonoma and Marin counties. South of the Golden Gate, Orr (1942) never observed the Pileated Woodpecker in the Big Basin region, an area where it is now regular. It began to be recorded in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the early 1970s (AB 26:805, 1972), and the first nesting in this area was in Big Basin State Park in Santa Cruz County on 30 Jun 1987 (AB 41:1484, 1987) (Figure 5). Records: Fledglings, Los Posadas State Forest, Napa County, prior to 1944 (Hemphill 1944). Nested, Glen Ellen, Sonoma County, 2 Jun 1963 (AFN 17:482, 1963). Nested, Lake Lagunitas, Marin County, 1976 (AB 30:884, 1976). Fledglings, San Mateo County, 29 Jul 1988 (Sequoia Audubon Society 2001). Fledglings, Lake Elsman, Santa Clara County, 18 Jun–8 Jul 1996 (NAS FN 50:993–994, 1996).

I believe that there has been no change in this species's status in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the following 12 years.  In Santa Clara County it has continued to increase its presence, I believe, but it does appear to require extensive coniferous and evergreen forests. Despite it nesting in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 1988, it appears in the dryer Diablo Range only on rare occasions.  The coniferous forest that is opposite the Golden Gate appears suitable for many other coniferous forest-loving species that are found nesting in the wetter Coast Ranges, but as others have suggested that forest may not be large enough for this woodpecker.

Bill Bousman
Menlo Park

On 11/6/2019 12:40 PM, Glen Tepke wrote:
If Pileated Woodpeckers in the East Bay were dispersing there from other areas, wouldn't you expect records to be spread out at various sites throughout the area? EBird shows a distinct cluster of records in Redwood RP and immediately adjacent sites (Joaquin Miller Park and Pinehurst Road), 17 records in all, spread pretty evenly throughout the year.  A quick search of EBB shows roughly half of the PIWO reports are from this area.  And I recall a few other records from this area from the days before eBird and even before EBB. EBird also shows a couple of other smaller and less concentrated clusters in the East Bay:  Tilden/Wildcat Canyon with five records and Mt. Diablo/Diablo Foothills with four.

I've always thought that there must be a small - one or two pairs? - resident population in the Redwood/Pinehurst area, though I am not aware of any evidence of breeding.  Bay Area Birds (Lukas, 2012) says "There are also hints that a few birds might breed in Redwood Regional Park in the Berkeley-Oakland hills but they are observed rarely there and the habitat might be too limited for successful breeding."  The Breeding Bird Atlas of Contra Costa County (Glover, 2009) lists possible breeding in this area (and nowhere else in the county), while the Alameda County Breeding Bird Atlas (Richmond et al, 2011) does not list PIWO. California Birds: Their Status and Distribution (Small, 1994) includes "and very recently to Alameda and Contra Costa counties" in its description of PIWO's range.  Of course, both theories could be true - a resident population in the Redwood/Pinehurst area, with dispersing birds accounting for the other East Bay records.  And the residents could be descendants of birds dispersed to that area by fires.

Interesting stuff.

Glen Tepke
Oakland/Santa Cruz


On 11/6/2019 8:59 AM, Aaron Maizlish wrote:
Two years ago (in March I believe) i was following up on a reported Pileated, and I spoke to a ranger at the Canyon Meadows Staging Area who said that one male had been there all winter. She seemed to know what she was talking about and pointed to the general area on the slope where it was seen or heard regularly.  I never did find it.

Aaron Maizlish
On Nov 6, 2019, at 8:53 AM, Joe Morlan <jmorlan@...> wrote:

My impression is that past Pileated records in the East Bay could be
correlated with major wildfires which may have displaced them.

On Wed, 6 Nov 2019 00:37:42 -0800, "Glen Tepke" <g.tepke@...>
wrote:

Thanks, John, for the historical records.  EBird shows only nine records for Alameda County