Lewis’s Woodpeckers (Melanerpes lewis) usually begin their molt in autumn and it can last through the winter.The bird above appears to be molting (click on photos for full sized images).
I noticed that they had returned from their breeding grounds a few weeks ago and were showing up in fairly large numbers among the large oaks along the rural route I take to work each morning.
They have a distinctive plumage and show conspicuous insect hawking behavior from the tree tops, easily seen from the roadway.
These images were taken with my digiscoping setup and I was fortunate to catch this bird as it took off from its perch.
I also shot some video of a couple of Lewis’s Woodpeckers, one foraging, possibly on acorns, in an oak tree and another (the bird pictured in the top photo) that was preening in a snag.
You will hear several other species of birds in the background including the California Quail, Western Scrub-Jay, Northern Flicker, White-breasted Nuthatch and the high pitched chatter of the Lewis’s Woodpecker.
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