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 of the 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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