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The Daily Bucket is a place where we can post and exchange our observations about the natural happenings in our neighborhoods. Birds, bugs, blossoms and more - each notation is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the natural patterns that are unwinding around us.
Seattle. December 11, 2012.

Sapsuckers are dessert, the perfect morsel when a pastry chef gets everything right. Bright raspberry red on top, bitter chocolate and cream below, fragrant with the sweet resin of sap.

There was a short period in the Forest, only a week or so many years ago, when I could count on spotting a pair of them working on the same cedar tree. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap Around the trunk, too intent on their feeding to notice me as I drew close. I'd point them out to other walkers and was disappointed when they weren't as delighted as I was to see them.

Our local bird database, Birdweb shows them as fairly common all year round, but I've seen them rarely since that week or so in the Forest. The only time I've spotted one on a weekly bird count was in September of 2009.

Until today, when this one flew across an alley from one of the neighborhood yards, perched right in front of me on an elderly Hawthorn and commenced drilling.

December 11, 2012. Red-breasted Sapsucker at the Old School for Wayward Girls.
December 11, 2012. Red-breasted Sapsucker at the Old School for Wayward Girls.
Like the pair I'd seen before, he was too intent on his work to pay much attention to my presence.
December 11, 2012. Red-breasted Sapsucker working a sap hole.
December 11, 2012. Red-breasted Sapsucker working a sap hole.
I worked my way towards him, using a telephone pole as a blind. Sapsucker drilled on. A flock of robins moved in from the north, quietly, one by one by one to the shelter of the Hawthorn's crown. Sapsucker drilled on. Two chickadees squabbled among the lowest branches of the Hawthorn. Sapsucker drilled on. A Song Sparrow appeared out of the adjacent rose thicket, chipped at my presence and dove back to shelter. Sapsucker drilled on. A flock of Pine Siskins twittered in from the neighboring trees, landed in the Hawthorn. Two crows joined them and they twittered away to the south. Sapsucker drilled on. I moved in to get one more picture. Sapsucker noticed me and casually flew back across the alley into the neighboring yard.

He left these.

December 11, 2012. Red-breasted Sapsucker holes.
December 11, 2012. Red-breasted Sapsucker holes.
I expect that he returned after I left, to feed on this sap, dinner and dessert both, seeping out of the holes he drilled while I watched.
December 11, 2012. Sap filling the holes that a Red-breasted Sapsucker drilled in a Hawthorn tree.
December 11, 2012. Sap filling the holes that a Red-breasted Sapsucker drilled in a Hawthorn tree.
Bon appetit, Monsieur Sapsucker.

December 11, 2012. A Red-Breasted Sapsucker is present at the Old School for Wayward Girls.

###

Your turn. What's happening in your neighborhood, and where might that be? Everyone is welcome to join in the nature gossip.

I'll be back in the early afternoon, then out again until early evening.

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