17-B-2016 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
YB: good portion of its US range, most seasons of the year (1998-2016, most recently in S FL during January, at seven locations), Mexico (six birding trips during 2002-07), Maritime Canada (2003), Cuba (2011), and Guatemala (2011).
RN: pretty much throughout its range and southward into W Mexico (1994 onward).
RB: western US (WA, OR, CA, ID, 2003-16).
Discussion: I’m basically discussing sapsuckers in the following, so I’ll use shorthand: YB for Yellow-bellied, RN for Red-naped, and RB for Red-breasted. I am not seeing very many accepted reports of YB in Idaho, e.g., see last page of this report, copied from the IBRC link: http://www.idahobirds.net/ibrc/reviewspecies/dove_woodpeckers.html#YBSA
The present sighting is an apparent “outlier” in terms of expected season, but maybe not? In saying this, I’m referring to old discussions on a few western US birding listservs, wherein late fall, winter, and early spring months were a more likely time of year for YB, but I don’t recall the actual data, e.g., which states, number of observations of YB vs. wintering RN. Hope this makes sense. A quick look at current eBird bar graphs reveals few accepted reports, which can be summarized by state and months like this: ID: Sep-Feb, WY: Sep-Oct, UT: Oct-Mar, and MT: Apr-Oct, for what it’s worth.
IBRC report of YBSA May 2016
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – (Sphyrapicus varius) (cut/paste from IBRC web page)
28 December 1993 – Saint Maries, Benewah County, Latilong 2 – Dan Svingen – AFN48(2):229
Rare Bird Report #: 10-A-93
Voting: 6-0- (Idaho’s 1st – past Sapsuckers (now Red-naped and Yellow-bellied) have been grouped together)
8 October 1994 – Deer Flat NWR, Canyon County, Latilong 17 – John Gatchet
Rare Bird Report #: 5-A-94
24 September 1998 – Jacobs Ladder Creek, Valley County, Latilong 11 – Aaron Utz
Rare Bird Report #: 4-B-99
Voting: 1-6 1st Round
Voting: 0-7 2nd ound (19 Nov 2009)
29 September 2001 – Idaho Bird observatory Lucky Peak, Ada County, Latilong 17, Ryan Brady and Jay Carlisle – NAB56(1):75 – immature bird
Rare Bird Report #: 15-B-01
Voting: 6-1 1st Round
Voting: 7-0 2nd Round (19 Nov 2009)
7 February 2002 – Clear Lake, near Buhl, Kent Fothergill
Rare Bird Report #: 1-B-02
30 September 2004 – Island Park area (Warm Spring) , Fremont County, Latilong 16 – Cliff Weisse, Doug Gibson Rare Bird Report #: 9-B-04
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Description is convincing for YB Sapsucker.
Good description - eliminates the similar
Well-written description favors Yellow-bellied and eliminates other sapsuckers.
I'm sorry to say that I'm not quite convinced. The differences between female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and female Red-naped Sapsucker apparently can be very subtle and subjective. Sibley mentions that some female RNSAs lack the pink on the nape, and if that's so than I don't know how we might distinguish the females of these two species.
Observer’s note that adult female Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) are distinctive within the Sphyrapicus group is correct, and he mentions the key fieldmarks – black framed white chin, and lack of red on the nape. They did not mention specifically that the black border to the chin was continuous, nor any detail about back/rump markings, so some doubt, but this might just be semantics. I’m comfortable enough to accept in this round, but given the date (somewhat late), and lack of a few details, it is not a strong acceptance.
convincing description of key fieldmarks of a female YBSA
Nice report of an apparent Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. The only aspects that give me a bit of pause are the briefness of the sighting and the record not fitting the typical vagrancy pattern for this species in the west.
SECOND ROUND VOTING:
I didn’t read anything in my second pass to change my initial vote.
No change from round 1
See first round comments
same comments as in round 1
I still find the description convincing.
I've changed my vote to accept.
I'm swayed by Dave's concerns as well as the briefness of the sighting and date of the sighting. Admittedly the description of white chin/throat would seem to rule out Red-naped however some can have fairly minimal red (e.g. BNA/eBird photos) in which case a brief sighting could miss key aspects (and photos would greatly enhance confidence given the circumstances and liklihood). Perhaps some additional discussion is in order.