Two weather fronts colliding have brought an interesting bird to the yard this morning. As they say, "Bad weather = Good birds."
Here are two photos, the first bird is one of our typical male yellow-shafted Northern Flickers. The second bird is the newbie. He looks like he's been sweeping chimneys! What a dark, sooty bird! He landed first on the suet feeder and chowed down for a while. He flew to the swampy thicket and went to a puddle for a few drinks. He perched for 20 minutes or so to rest on a catalpa tree, then flew.
I believe this bird may be an 'intergrade' between the yellow-shafted and a red-shafted Northern Flicker. Or is it melanistic? On the Cornell website it says that melanism in woodpeckers is rare. There are a few more photos in the Shady Oaks gallery. What do you think?