Friday, May 05, 2006

Pileated Woodpecker !!!

I did my spring species survey in G.O.G. Park April 27, 2006. A female Anna's Hummingbird looked very sweet sitting in the center of her nest working on the rim with her long beak. I heard two singing Orange-crowned Warblers and two Wilson's Warblers, seeing one of each. Only a dozen Band tailed Pigeons were seen today. A week ago nearly 200 flew out of the trees as I drove along Vargas. Two newly arrived male Ash throated Flycatchers were calling for mates and will hopefully nest in the park. Three male W. Bluebirds were guarding their nest boxes, with females brooding eggs. The 25 Cedar Waxwings which flew over in tight formation will be leaving soon. Dark-eyed Junco and Bewicks Wren were feeding begging fledglings. The White-breasted Nuthatch pair was feeding a second brood in an Elderberry cavity only two feet off the ground. I also saw a pair of Coopers, Red shouldered and Red tailed Hawks. One Am. Kestrel pounced on a large insect as I walked by. A pair of colorful Hooded Orioles and Bullocks Orioles was a delight to find. I counted 10 Scrub Jays at the top of the south stairs and wondered what they were up to. Two Hutton's Vireos at opposite ends of the park were heard this morning. Hopefully they will also nest in the park this spring.

I decided to walk through the woods again hoping to find a Warbling Vireo which I'd seen the previous week. I caught a glimpse of a big black bird and wondered why a Turkey Vulture would land on the side of a tree. I got my binoculars on the bird and found a Pileated Woodpecker!! The largest woodpecker species was an amazing discovery in this suburban habitat. I always knew I'd find one in Guadalupe Oak Grove Park, as strange as that may sound. I got a pretty good look at the bird before it worked its way around the back of the tree and flew off. I believe it was a male because of the large red crest. I drove home and posted my sighting on South Bay Birds in hopes another birder would find it before it was gone. I've found other rare birds, but this has to be my favorite. I received many messages of congratulations later that day.

John Mariani who hosts the web site Almaden Valley Birds wrote the following.
28 April, 2006
Janna Pauser reports the discovery of a PILEATED WOODPECKER at Guadalupe Oak Grove Park on April 27th. This is a first record for the Almaden Valley. In recent years the Santa Cruz Mountains population has been increasing and expanding its range, so an eventual occurrence was to be expected - most likely in the Sierra Azul. But birds don't always do what is most likely, and the suburban location of this sighting is a bit of a surprise.

I had 40 bird species for my spring survey

Turkey Vulture 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 2
Coopers Hawk 2
American Kestrel 1
Rock Pigeon 9
Band-tailed Pigeon 12
Mourning Dove 15
White-throated Swift 2
Anna's Hummingbird 3
Pileated Woodpecker 1
Acorn Woodpecker 28
Nuttall's Woodpecker 3
Black Phoebe 2
Ash-throated Flycatcher 2
Western Scrub-Jay 10
American Crow 1
Hutton's Vireo 2
Cedar Waxwing 15
Western Bluebird 3
American Robin 4
Northern Mockingbird 3
European Starling 18
White-breasted Nuthatch 7
Bewick's Wren 5
Bushtit 12
Violet-green Swallow 14
No. Rough-winged Swallow 2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee 6
Oak Titmouse 10
American Goldfinch 2
Lesser Goldfinch 12
Orange-crowned Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped Warbler 5
Wilson's Warbler 3
Dark-eyed Junco 7
Spotted Towhee 1
California Towhee 6
Bullock's Oriole 2
Hooded Oriole 2


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