Williamson's Sapsucker (negative report)
- 6 December 2009 - Several local birders searched for the Williamson's Sapsucker along the south side of the Mendocino Botanical Gardens all Sunday morning. This was the bird found by Dave Jensen and others on Saturday.
The "search group" did NOT find the bird, but two fresh sapping well sites were discovered in the low isolated pines between the south path (at the large open grassy area were the MCBGardens has evetn tents occasionally) and the boundary fence. One sap well is about 7 feet from the ground, and the other is about 10 feet from the ground. These sapping well sites are consistent with Dave's description of the bird staying low to the ground and moving from tree to tree. The sap well holes were small, maybe 3/16 inch in diameter and round, and I think they are unlike Red-breasted Sapsucker sap wells which tend to be larger and sometimes "squared" in shape ...so my gut feeling is that this bird made them (although I am not personally familair with Williamson's Sapsucker behavior).
With the sapping wells being found, I think it is likely that the bird will return to the site. It probably has a series of sap-well sites that it visits ...and some of those are probably on the private property to the south (do not cross the fence onto private property). We are hoping that birders will continue to keep a sharp eye out for this female Williamson's Sapsucker at this site.
The only prior Williamson's Sapsucker record for the county was a specimen collected near Albion in the early 1900's.
Good birding. Bob Keiffer.
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