Last week, while on a bicycle ride in the morning I took the little side-road, a narrow cement by-passed section of Old US 80 at the east end of Bankhead Springs and found a flock of about 35 Band-tailed Pigeons. These large birds are the closest living relative to the extinct Passenger Pigeon. I’ve seen a single bird at the swamp and at my feeders this winter. There has been a mini-invasion of them this year in unusual places, especial along the coast. Boulevard has decent enough habitat, lots of oaks, for these birds. Perhaps they will stick around. I doubt it.
Just later on the same ride, as I passed McCain Valley Road, I saw a brilliantly colored Lewis’ Woodpecker, a regular winter visitor to San Diego County, and not too far from its usual wintering grounds. I returned the next morning with my camera and attempted to get some pics, but the bird was a bit shy and my pics were lousy.
I did notice on my first photographic visit, that there were at least two birds, and they were aggressive in defending their territory, a small oak woodland, from the resident acorn woodpeckers. As soon as an acorn woodpecker would get close, one of the Lewis’ would chase it off. The Lewis’ were usually out of sight otherwise.
Lewis’ woodpecker was named for Meriwether Lewis, a leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark got an aggressive corvid named after him, Clark’s Nutcracker, which I reported on about a year ago. Legendary Clark’s Nutcracker at Laguna Recreation Area 2-16-2014. You could look it up.
A Nuttall’s woodpecker has been doing some excavation in my Cottonwood tree, preparing a new nest cavity. Two years ago two of these pairs nested in the tree. Last year a starling took over the nest hole.