On a hunch Cricket and I decided to check out the trees along Creek Drive (by Allied Arts) in Menlo Park today. We hoped that maybe last year's Yellow-bellied Sapsucker would make an appearnce... but no.

The tree above the yellow 15MPH sign at the corner of Arbor and Creek Drive are indeed dripping with sap and a Sapsucker showed up almost immediately after we arrived. The bird was confusing to us and had some possible hybrid features. For example:

— the bird's head and throat were primarily red like Red-breasted
— the breast was excessivly dark
— there was a sharp division between mottled breast and solid red throat
— no solid black bib on the upper breast
— the face was strongly patterned with white, red and black
— there was a generous amount of white above and behind the eye
— auriculars were tending toward black
— the back of neck was very mottled black
— some red at rear of crown, and nape

We could not match it with any illustrations in our various guides, but believe it could be a hybrid xRed-naped.
Ed Ehmke also visited the spot and supplied the images below.

Photo: Ed Ehmke

Photo: Ed Ehmke


One of the two Clay-colored Sparrows reported at Byxbee Park in Palo Alto.


On a hunch that the Northern Waterthrush might have arrived at its wintering haunt at Charleston Marsh, I decided to take a quick break and give it a go. Sure enough, a quick playback produced a response from not one, but 2 Northern Waterthrushes. Excitedly, I emailed SBB and updated my facebook page while I was lookingat both birds. The electronic age really is pretty cool sometimes!

Also today, we had our first Hermit Thrush of the season, chupping right outside our bedroom window. Another Hermit was seen at the end of the street.


The Merlin that has spent at least the last three winters in our neighborhood arrived last Thursday. Saw it on the very top of a tall redwood tree. Nice birthday present, I'd say! I've never gotten a good scope view, but end-of-day binocular looks suggest it is a female, F.c.columbarius. (Her roosting schedule doesn't really work with my work schedule...)


I am arbitrarily choosing this date to retroactively document when our first Yellow-rumped and Townsend's Warblers showed up at our townhouse. Not positive this is the exact date... oh, well.