Monday, May 2, 2016

Nuttall's Woodpecker, a California Endemic, on the MJC East Campus

I don't see them that often, but the Nuttall's Woodpecker (Picoides nuttallii) is a California original. There are a few rare sightings in southern Oregon, and a fair number of sightings in Baja California, but Baja is part of California anyway (international boundaries are human things). They are showy enough that they get sighted pretty often, but the total population is estimated at about 600,000 birds, with 99% of them in California state. They are mainly prefer oak woodlands, although they have fared well in urban settings as well. It was in fact an urban setting where I saw this one.
People wonder why I always have a camera close at hand, even when running mundane errands. In this instance I was rushing to join the graduation ceremony at MJC on Friday when I heard an odd sound in the tree above my parking spot. I looked up and saw the woodpecker practically over my head. So I put down the robes, and got my camera out! You just never know when you'll see something and wish you had a camera.

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