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Unusual Sapsuckers


Brian Fitch
 

Another theme day, with 2 unidentified birds as the focus.  The first was a northbound flyby at Battery Godfrey, a juvenile sapsucker with white wing patches and mostly beige body color, seen only as it flew away from the group.  If it had a white rump, I was unable to see it.  The beigeness implies Yellow-bellied, but the view was inadequate to rule out Red-naped.

The second bird was seen by many at El Polin, and was close in appearance to an adult male Red-naped, except that some red feathering was on the breast, and there was more red on the head than the guides show.  It stayed tucked into a tree such that no one got photos.

The battery was a letdown, as the forecasted wind never materialized in any notable way.  Over a thousand Vaux's Swifts fluttering through in very diffuse flocks were the other highlight.
Brian Fitch


Joachim Gonzalez
 

A pair of unseasonal Caspian Terns were the only other rarities of the morning. 

Good Birding,
Joachim Gonzalez

On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 5:16 PM Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...> wrote:
Another theme day, with 2 unidentified birds as the focus.  The first was a northbound flyby at Battery Godfrey, a juvenile sapsucker with white wing patches and mostly beige body color, seen only as it flew away from the group.  If it had a white rump, I was unable to see it.  The beigeness implies Yellow-bellied, but the view was inadequate to rule out Red-naped.

The second bird was seen by many at El Polin, and was close in appearance to an adult male Red-naped, except that some red feathering was on the breast, and there was more red on the head than the guides show.  It stayed tucked into a tree such that no one got photos.

The battery was a letdown, as the forecasted wind never materialized in any notable way.  Over a thousand Vaux's Swifts fluttering through in very diffuse flocks were the other highlight.
Brian Fitch











Brian Fitch
 

I just recalled my old Kaufman guide to advanced birding, and the section on sapsuckers.  In it he states that Red-naped Sapsuckers develop an adult head pattern before migration, by mid-September at the latest, and he also describes the crown as dark brown.  The flyby at the battery was beige on the crown, and had no adult patterning on the head at all, so my first statement about Red-naped not being ruled out appears to be in error, and the bird was a juvenile Yellow-bellied.

I'm not doing a big year, and have already seen Yellow-bellied in SF twice, so this change is not driven by any of the competitive issues that have been degrading SF birding recently.
Brian Fitch


On Mon, Sep 28, 2020 at 5:16 PM Brian Fitch via groups.io <fogeggs=gmail.com@groups.io> wrote:
Another theme day, with 2 unidentified birds as the focus.  The first was a northbound flyby at Battery Godfrey, a juvenile sapsucker with white wing patches and mostly beige body color, seen only as it flew away from the group.  If it had a white rump, I was unable to see it.  The beigeness implies Yellow-bellied, but the view was inadequate to rule out Red-naped.

The second bird was seen by many at El Polin, and was close in appearance to an adult male Red-naped, except that some red feathering was on the breast, and there was more red on the head than the guides show.  It stayed tucked into a tree such that no one got photos.

The battery was a letdown, as the forecasted wind never materialized in any notable way.  Over a thousand Vaux's Swifts fluttering through in very diffuse flocks were the other highlight.
Brian Fitch