A WHOLE NEW BIRD, OUT OF NOWHERE!!
I was just doing the O’Something-Fifty, “my watch just bitched at me” tour of the front yard and I saw something fly into the neighbors’ front yard tree.
The way that it was grabbing onto the side of the trunk and poking at it screamed “woodpecker!” That’s uncommon, but not super rare – we have Downy Woodpeckers around and have seen them here a couple of times a year.
But this didn’t look or act like a Downy, so I tried to get closer without spooking him. I didn’t have my DSLR with me, but the iPhone 13 (as previously noted many a time) is getting pretty fantastic on the camera front, and it’s almost always in my pocket.
This guy wasn’t spooked at all by my getting to within maybe twenty feet on the sidewalk, and I got some really great views.
He made sure I got a good view of the spots and markings on his back and sides.
Then he made sure I had a good view of his chest coloration and profile.
Finally he’s just showing off that red cap. A gorgeous speciman! But what is it?
(Image from Merlin Bird ID app from The Cornell Lab – HIGHLY recommended!)
I was correct, it’s not a Downy Woodpecker, although it’s close. (I was correct again!) It’s a Nuttall’s Woodpecker. The domain and range is correct, the description, the behavior… I think we have a winner!
For someone who spends so much time looking at birds, this was a great surprise and a wonderful find. I hope it sticks around for a while so I can get pictures with the big glass and camera!