Red-naped Sapsucker AND Red-breasted Sapsucker share the same branch – September 27, 2016

While canvassing O’Neill Regional Park this afternoon on the park road the parallels itself with Live Oak Canyon Road, I noted a cluster of Acorn Woodpeckers attempting to nab every single drop of water from a nearby faucet.  The temps have soared into the 90s the past few days with a high pressure system hanging over us like it was Houston Texas thus one cannot blame any species for scouring for any form of hydration.  About 30 yards away from Eagle Grove Shelter #2,  I had caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a sapsucker that had flown into a roadside California Oak tree.  As I got closer, it turns out a Red-naped Sapsucker had made an early fall visitation to the park.  In one of the images below you can clearly see the red nape in the rear view shot.  While it flew periodically back and forth from oak tree to oak tree, much to my surprise a second sapsucker (yes I did a double take) landed on the same branch.  This was a Red-breasted Sapsucker sharing the same branch as a Red-naped Sapsucker, an unlikely occurrence from what I understand.  Though both species hybridize, they’re almost in sync and simultaneous appearance was quite surprising.  No form of mating was noticed however they inspected and shared the same branch for about 7-8 minutes.

Here’s a few images from today, September 27, 2017 at O’Neill Regional Park

Photo taken at O'Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016
Red-naped Sapsucker left and Red-breasted Sapsucker right.  Photo taken at O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016
Photo taken at O'Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016
Red-naped Sapsucker.  Photo taken at O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016
Red-nape clearly visible in this image. Photo taken at O'Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016
The Id marking of the Red-nape is clearly visible in this image. Photo taken at O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016

Photo taken at O'Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016

Red-naped Sapsucker left and Red-breasted Sapsucker right.  Photo taken at O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon, CA on September 27, 2016

2 Responses

  1. Chris Keefe

    Thanks for the terrific photos. I live right next to the Back Bay area of Newport Beach and almost every morning I have been hearing a woodpecker.
    Do you have any idea what kind of Woodpecker I might be hearing? I have not been able to spot it, but I going to keep trying !

  2. OC Birds Admin

    sorry for the delay..it could be any one of the following: Northern Flicker, Sapsuckers (2 possible), Downy Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker or a Nuttall’s Woodpecker.

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