Date: 3/27/21 7:05 am
From: Adam Burnett <adamburnett33...>
Subject: [southbaybirds] SCVWD 3/26 - Sap-stealing Yellow-rumped Warbler, and other highlights
With Stanford classes on spring break, I kicked off the weekend a bit early
and visited the Santa Clara Valley Water District trails yesterday
afternoon (3/26), hoping to finally see my first Scaly-breasted Munias.
Based on others’ reports, they seem to be morning birds, so I figured I was
pushing my luck by making yet another afternoon attempt. Fortunately, I
managed to see one SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA after all, feeding on grass seeds
in the grassy area northeast of the laboratory building, along the spur
trail leading northward from the main loop trail toward Blossom Hill Road.
After a couple minutes of nice views, the munia flew off toward the river
channel and out of sight.

I also saw two WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS scratching in the leaf litter under
a large bush along the trail next to the entrance of the administrative
building, near here: (37.24808, -121.87303). They were relatively
unobscured, made lots of rustling noise as they kicked leaves around, and
were not associating with other sparrows, sparing me the usual
needle-in-a-haystack problem.

My favorite sighting was the behavior described in the subject line: a
‘Myrtle’ YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER stealing sap from fresh sapsucker wells! The
sap wells were so fresh, in fact, that the RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER was right
there, keeping an eye on the situation. The sapsucker seemed generally
tolerant of the warbler's behavior but a bit annoyed, and the warbler
seemed wary of the sapsucker, aware that he might take exception to his sap
theft. My eBird list includes a fun sequence of photos showing the warbler
nervously peering at the sapsucker before taking a drink:
https://ebird.org/checklist/S84147584

This scene unfolded in a pepper tree near the administrative building
entrance, right across the trail from the White-throated Sparrows. (And by
the way, I was sorely tempted to put “Yellow-rumped Sapsucker” in the
subject line, but I decided to play it safe and avoid sowing confusion.)

Later in the afternoon, I headed over to Santa Teresa County Park, where I
hung around the Pueblo Day Use Area for a couple hours, eating a late lunch
and enjoying the spring weather. Of course, I was hoping for Red
Crossbills, but had no luck. Carter Gasiorowski and his mom arrived later,
and they pointed out a couple notable birds: a LARK SPARROW, perched atop a
small tree in the middle of the grassy picnic area, and a male HOODED
ORIOLE, who flew in and landed in a eucalyptus tree by the restrooms before
flying to an oak tree farther upslope.

Looking forward to seeing what other birds the weekend, and the spring,
brings!

Adam Burnett
Stanford


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