Date: 12/30/19 8:09 pm From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...> Subject: [cobirds] Grandview Cemetery on 30December2019
First off, the two Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers sought by many of late continue in the Grandview Cemetery area.
I first heard (pecking), then saw, the young male this morning about 11:30am in a medium-sized deciduous tree due south of the Trolley House out on City Park Nine golf course. This tree has a white tag on the north side about 7 feet up that identifies it as a tree I've never heard of called "Pacific Sunset Maple". This is a hybrid between Acer platanoides (Norway maple, a widely planted native of Europe) and A. truncatum (Shantung maple, native to northern China). The tag also says it is the horticultural variety called "Warrenred". I got a few photos of the sapsucker from a distance before the activity of Fox Squirrels chased the bird off and I could never find it again. The squirrels are after sap oozing from natural cracks in the bark and twigs, and from sap wells made this morning by the sapsucker. [There is some very interesting literature, mostly by famous ecologist Paul Ehrlich and students, about all the creatures that poach sap made available by sapsuckers (making sapsuckers a "keystone species"). This work was done at Gothic, CO using motion detection cameras and direct observation. Among the visitors were butterflies and bobcats, and Ehrlich's camp made the suggestion that spring hummingbird migration might well be timed to follow right behind sapsucker movements to allow the hummingbirds to plug into sapsucker-provided fuel stations at a time of year when plant blooms and other food sources are scarce.] The photo below shows a couple features that prove beyond a doubt there are two sapsuckers operating in the periphery of the cemetery. The black lower throat is not solid on this bird, nor is the red on the crown and the chin. I checked good photos provided by Joshua Smith (December 27 eBird checklist) and Adrian Lakin (today's eBird checklist) of the bird operating about midway along the south edge of the cemetery and out onto the golf course, which show solid red crown and chin, and solid black lower throat. Case closed.
Also below, see a Fox Squirrel lapping dilute maple syrup from a natural branch crack in the Pacific Sunset Maple shortly after the sapsucker disappeared.
My guess is both the young male sapsucker and the squirrels will be back in the Pacific Sunset Maple at some point tomorrow, which is supposed to be in the mid-40s for a high and there should be good sap rise from all the recent snow.
The adult male sapsucker favors Austrian pines just east of the gray portapotty midway along the southern cemetery boundary road and often retreats to the big cottonwood just east of the pines.