Friday, February 14, 2014

Nuttall's Woodpecker

Nuttall's Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker. Lake Hodges, California. February 2, 2014. Greg Gillson.

The Nuttall's Woodpecker is found almost exclusively in California--the length of the state. They also occur in northernmost Baja California. Stragglers reach western Nevada and a couple have reached SW Oregon.

They are associated primarily with coast live oak trees.

Nuttall's are the most common woodpecker in San Diego County, more so than Northern Flickers or Downy Woodpeckers. Well, Acorn Woodpeckers are pretty common too, but are patchily distributed in colonies in older, larger oak groves.

Nuttall's Woodpecker

Like many birds, you can approach them closely if you aren't really interested in them. But if you start showing interest, such as pointing a big camera lens eyeball at them and following them around trying to get a better photo, they tend to hide or flee. Thus, I have tried getting photos of this species a few times previously, mostly unsuccessfully. I had walked right up to this bird on the trail without realizing it until I was right next to the bird. Fortunately, it was slightly more interested in working over this tree than it was in fleeing from me. After I got these pictures it played hide-and-seek behind the nearby tree trunk.