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

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

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,
Dan 

Daniel Scali
 

Birders,

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.

https://ebird.org/checklist/S63324624

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

Good searching!
Dan