J Schmitt Report: Sapsucker Diversity, Phainopepla #s, etc.
John Schmitt called this evening to report YELLOW-BELLIED Sapsucker,
2 RED-NAPED Sapsuckers, and 3+ RED-BREASTED Sapsuckers today at c.
2600' Tillie Creek Campground in Wofford Heights on the west shore of
Isabella Reservoir at the east base of the Greenhorn Mountains in the
Kern River Valley, Kern County, Southern Sierra Nevada. John stated
that the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was his first for Tillie Creek
Campground, an area he has birded thoroughly for several years. He
further stated, "This is a good year for sapsuckers. I have had as
many as four Red-NAPED Sapsuckers in Tillie Creek Campground this
fall. Based on plumage characteristics and my field sketches there
are more than 3 Red-BREASTED Sapsuckers in the campground. But, I
only found 3 this morning." Other, expected woodpecker species
present were Acorn, Nuttall's, Downy, and Hairy.
Tillie Creek Campground is usually excellent for numbers of
Phainopepla. This year is exceptional, with 50-60 individuals present
this morning. "Their calling sounds are so prevalent they remind me
of a frog chorus in Costa Rica. There seems to be one on top of every
tree. Earlier it was virtually all gray birds. Adult males have now
shown up as well." "Purple Finches are down. There are only 10-15 in
the campground. Last winter was exceptional with 100-150 individuals
present with a few Cassin's Finches mixed in."
Hooded Merganser, Bald Eagle, and Cassin's Finch have not been
observed to date at Tillie Creek/Isabella Reservoir this fall by
John. Perhaps related, there have been no nights with low
temperatures near freezing in the Tillie Creek area thus far this fall.
For John Schmitt,
Ridgecrest, Kern Co., CA
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