[Tweeters] Rarity Chasing Karma-JBP Sapsucker

Penny Koyama plkoyama at verizon.net
Fri Aug 21 16:40:24 PDT 2009

To John and Tweeters still looking for the RN Sapsucker,

It was there at 3:15 p.m. in the large, white-trunked tree to the left of the west boardwalk just as you begin walking towards the lake. It was scruffy-looking, and completely quiet, even when digging at the tree (which, by the way, is identifiable for its many sapwells.) That was my 3rd try, though I don't have the patience for more than a 15 min. wait unless there are other birders with whom to commune! So keep at it.

Penny Koyama, Bothell
plkoyama at verizon.net

----- Original Message -----
From: johntubbs at comcast.net
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu
Sent: Friday, August 21, 2009 3:54 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Rarity Chasing Karma

Hi everyone,

After being out of town for over a week, and reading with envy the reports of Franklin's Gull and Red-necked Sapsucker in Juanita, I finally got around to chasing them this morning. It was a story the fickleness of this activity - or for the technically-minded, a story of both sides of the bell-shaped curve of, which I seem to experience with regularity. Specifically, I showed up at the parking lot at Juanita Beach around 8:30, pulled in facing the beach and noticed a few gulls lolling around on the sand. Without leaving the car, I put the binocs on them, and sure enough - one was the immature Franklin's Gull. So I left the binocs in the car, grabbed the digicam, walked to within ten yards of the birds (who totally ignored me), snapped half a dozen decent shots of the Franklin's Gull and checked that one off the list. Thinking it wasn't possible to have been any more lucky, another birder who apparently showed up shortly after me said when he pulled in there was a single gull standing IN the parking lot - and yes, it was the cooperative rarity.

The memories of similar situations, however, were concerning because I figured the ease of finding the gull probably exhausted my rarity karma for the morning, and that turned out to be true when I went for the Red-necked Sapsucker. At least four other birders were looking for it over the time I was there (plus two who didn't know it was in the park until I spoke with them) and I don't believe anyone got a definitive look. However, a sapsucker (not necessarily THE sapsucker) decided to rub salt in the wound. While I was chatting with one person, he saw a sapsucker fly into a grove of trees nearby. Except none of us could locate it, and his view was so fleeting it was not clear if it was the rare visitor. Shortly thereafter, another birder had a sapsucker (and two Downy's and one Northern Flicker) in a large willow that was in the direction the mystery sapsucker had flown. I ran over to find the tree badly backlit and while searching for the bird, the mystery sapsucker flew southeast toward the houses that border the park. I went after it but couldn't find it and shortly thereafter gave up. Oh, well...maybe I'll stop by for another go. The sapsucker hunt consumed enough time that the hoped-for visit to the Fill for the Red-necked Phalarope(s) didn't happen.

You win some, and you lose some. If every bird was as easy as the Franklin's, it wouldn't be fun, yes?

John Tubbs

Snoqualmie, WA

johntubbs at comcast.net



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