[Tweeters] North Seattle/Bitter Lake birding & sapsucker behavior

Andrea Wuenschel chyroptera at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 21 13:12:45 PST 2008


8am- this morning I had two very fluffed up Red-breasted Sapsuckers on the non-native spruce sp. outside my front door. One was there all day yesterday, drilling wells in neat little rows into the tree, the two today were moving quickly from well to well, making small noises. I usually see one sapsucker on this tree each year, when it gets below freezing for a few days.

9am- later on in the morning I went out to clear the car of snow, and I heard a commotion behind me--the sapsuckers were on the ground, duking it out to the death! Feet were locked, wings were flapping, and one had its bill biting the chest of the other. I took a few steps toward the scene and they parted and flew back to the spruce tree, complaining. Later on coming back from my walk to Bitter Lake, I saw one sapsucker fly across from a neighbor's yard, and one still at the spruce wells. I guess the loser conceded and got a different tree, rather than risk it anymore.

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Bitter Lake: On thurs, the wind was blowing the water into waves and there was no ice; by Sat, the lake was almost completely frozen, except a tiny slice at the far end where ~70 mallards, 25 coots, and ~25 American wigeon paddle around. On Sat, another 25 American wigeon were on the snowy soccer field. 70 or so gulls either sit on the ice or in the water. 3/4 of the lake surface froze last year, but this year I think it's going to be the whole surface.

Oh, and there was 5-6 inches of new snow from last night/on the ground, on top of the 3-4 inches from Thursday, and now it's snowing again....

Andrea Wuenschel
North Seattle





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