Yellow-bellied/Red-naped Sapsucker (McLaren Park: McNab Pond)

Daniel Scali


I’ve updated my ebird list based on studying with Peter Pyle. We’re calling it more than likely Red-naped but can’t rule out hybrid with Yellow-bellied.

It needs refinding for better photos.

And thanks again to Wesley Fritz and Rudy for their help.

Good searching!

Daniel Scali

Hello all,

Again today a number of folks went in search of the sapsucker with no finds. Wesley Fritz down in Santa Barbara has a lot of experience with sapsuckers and gave some tips to figure out if the bird is likely to stay. Most importantly he said they don't like people too much -- I hope I didn't scare it away.

Wesley and others with experience have weighed in. Nobody thinks it is a pure Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Most are hesitant to call it a pure Red-naped based on age and a few odd plumage details (not sure what they are).

I realized there are actually a few decent photos in the bad ones I didn't share yesterday. Sent those to Wesley and I'll see if I can show them to Mr. Pyle as well.

Good birding,

Daniel Scali

Hi bird people,

I was able to view and photograph the drumming and foraging sapsucker for about 45 min this morning from 11:00 am. I had no experience with comparing these two sometimes identical (nearly) species so I didn't know exactly what I was looking for. The bird would climb a branch inspecting its holes or making new ones, then fly down to another branch. I know it spent time on at least 2 of the Oaks. The light was only a little challenging from the substantial canopy.

A bunch of better birders than me came out for the bird (a victory for McLaren!!!). Alas. Just before Adam Winer arrived (about noon), as I was looking at my phone, a shadow swooped off low behind me -- towards University Ave -- and the sapsucker had not been refound by me or others when I took off at 3:30 pm. I really hope it comes back.

Directions from earlier: Go South on University past the driveway for McNab Pond
(Louis Sutter Playground) and halfway up the steep road. It was foraging
sap holes in the oaks there. Just a little down from the light blue house.

Here's my ebird list with what I feel are the most diagnostic photo angles. Personally I'm stumped :)

- Dan