[Tweeters] Hybrid Williamson's/Red-naped Sapsucker south of Mt. Adams

Jon Houghton jonbirder at comcast.net
Wed Aug 31 13:58:48 PDT 2022

Hi Tweets - Sunday Kathleen and I headed south to bird the lower Columbia Gorge, a favorite area that we'd failed to visit yet this year. Our stop in Ridgefield was (as predicted by Jim D.) pretty unexciting, with water absent or very low in usually flooded areas. As a result, there were relatively few water-associated birds to be seen. After a night in Cascade Locks, we drove up Old Route 8 and hiked up Catherine Creek a ways to our (most recent) go-to place for Acorn Woodpeckers, which didn't disappoint. At the Major Cr. bridge, we found more ACWO along with an Ash-throated and an Olive-sided Flycatcher. Balch Cemetery was very quiet as the temp. approached 90 degrees, so we decided to head to Trout Lake and up the South Climb access Rd (FR 8240) to the Wicky Shelter area where we hoped for a late Hermit Warbler. A nice mixed flock near the shelter had several warblers but we could not isolate a Hermit. After a nice evening in Hood River, and with forecasts of 100 degrees for the day along the river, we decided to head back to the Wicky Shelter area yesterday for another try. At the Wicky Cr. crossing just below the shelter, we found a larger mixed flock with several more warbler spp. but no Hermit. Looking at several other spots above and below the shelter, we hit on a large group of birds in a fairly open forest area (much blow down and standing dead trees) about halfway between the Wicky Cr. crossing and the last side road before the shelter (FR 8240-020). In addition to more Western Tanagers than we've ever seen in one place, there was a family (?) of sapsuckers. At least one adult male looked for all the world like a Williamson's (black back, white supraorbital and gular stripes, pure white rump and wing patches, yellow belly) but...it had a well-defined crimson crown and it's red throat patch extended in a V down it's upper breast. A quick search revealed a description of a Williamson's/Red-naped hybrid from Arizona (Short and Morony 1970, The Condor). This fabulous looking and unusual bird made me regret even more that, after having removed my camera battery to charge it after taking way too many pix of sandpipers, I failed to replace it, so...had camera, but no battery. Arrghh!! If anyone is going to be in that area, I could offer more detail on where these birds were. And if anyone has seen this particular hybird, I'd love to hear about it. Happy Birding - Jon Houghton, Edmonds
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