[Tweeters] LHG Bellevue Common Redpolls continue, day 4

Pterodroma at aol.com Pterodroma at aol.com
Sat Jan 23 12:39:50 PST 2016

This steady light rainy morning didn't seem to deter the continuing
presence of the Bellevue Lake Hills Greenbelt (LHG) Common Redpoll flock which
continue to occupy (off and on, but maybe more on than off) the white-barked
birch cluster SE of Larsen Lake and a few steps west of "The Club" (Teen
Center) 15228 Lake Hills Blvd parking lot. They weren't present when I
arrived just before 1100hrs but another birder, Paul Baerny from Kent was and
was about to leave empty handed. While we were casually chatting for just a
couple minutes in the parking lot behind the Teen Center, the flock
suddenly conspicuously materialized in the birch cluster and remained steadfast
in place for the next 30 minutes and was present as we both left at 1130hrs.
This time, the Redpolls preferred the northern most birch in the cluster
as viewed from the parking area. Best precise count was 27 including
several nice bright pink-washed chested adult males.

Just as we were both about to leave and just to add a novel new twist of
drama to the current LHG Redpoll show, alarming to some maybe, out of the
gloomy gray atmospheric murk, came a very dark Merlin making a quick
harassment pass sending the flock scattering in all directions. The Merlin
promptly continued on empty-taloned and the Redpolls after swirling around
promptly returned to the birches seemingly a little more wary and scattered than
before but at least the flock was still intact. So, 27 Redpolls today, who
knows how many tomorrow or the day after, etc, etc.

During the 2012-13 winter season when Pine Siskins were so prolific in the
LHG and flocks numbered up to 2500(!), siskins were the most favorite
target by the resident Merlin (or Merlins) as I observed several successful
takes and many more just harassing flock scattering fly-thru's. So far this
winter, the Redpolls seem to be outnumbering the siskins and to a Merlin,
there's probably little to no difference between the two.

Richard Rowlett
Bellevue (Eastgate), WA
Pterodroma AT aol.com

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