Wednesday, October 23, 2013 Not ONE but TWO Yellow-bellies!

Seward, Alaska

I was busy looking for that Long-billed Murrelet on the east side of the bay when Jim Herbert spotted TWO YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS on the west side of the bay in full sunshine at noon. When I got the message at 3 pm, I raced over to Lowell Point.

As the shadows deepened, I found a juvenile male bird busily chiseling new holes in a large willow trunk, and racheting up nearby alders to sip sap from older holes. When the adult male arrived, he immediately chased away the youngster, possibly the only member of his species within a thousand miles or more. Go team!

The two did not waste much time on the territorial dispute as temperatures dipped with the sun. The adult male flew to a small grove of alders across the road, on State Park property, leaving the juvenile to sip sap from new and older holes.

A bright BROWN CREEPER flew in, its belly as white as a pingpong ball and about the same size. BLACK-BILLED MAGPIES periodically stirred things up, and a red squirrel looped around the trunks and branches, a potential predator and sap thief.

The clear sky last night brought our first hard frost, and the return of a chilly NNE wind. The sky is clear again tonight. With frost on the pumpkins, not much sap is likely to flow for these two wanderers. But instead of wondering when they will leave, now I'm wondering when mom is going to show up!

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

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