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Re: A flock of flickers?
Tue, 11 Dec 2001 09:35:44 -0800
From: Tom Condit

Kay Loughman wrote:

But this morning I looked out to a neighbor's leafless locust tree and saw four flickers all together, clearly interacting. (It would be interesting to know the sexes, but I didn't think of that until after they'd flown.) Any speculation on what might be going on: a late family group, early courtship, or ...?

There were a pair flying together and calling over Strawberry Canyon in Berkeley last week, right along the west boundary of the UC Botanical Garden.

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Re: A flock of flickers?
Tue, 11 Dec 2001 11:38:15 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

Kay Loughman asked about interacting groups of Northern Flickers. The following is from the Bent Life Histories of Birds on-line at Birdzilla:

(Or just go to Birdzilla, wait for the page to load and click on the "Wild Bird Omnibus" box that is one of the last things to appear, search for Northern Flicker, and click on the "Bent Life History" button in the upper right corner of the flicker page.)

Speaking of Yellow-shafted Flickers in early spring, there is this comment:

Flickers often migrate in companies of considerable size, in loose, scattered flocks, noisy and active, flying from tree to tree and calling excitedly. Their arrival is announced by the loud challenge-call, given from the top of some tall tree, wicker, wicker, wicker, or wake-up, wake-up, wake: up. as the male challenges his rivals or invites his prospective mate to join him in courtship.

Perhaps in our mild climate, this behavior begins early. There are pages and pages of observations in Bent's summary and I only skimmed through - you might find something more relevant there. Bent, of course, was writing back when Northern Flicker was divided into at least three different species.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Lake Merritt Ring-necked Duck
Wed, 12 Dec 2001 06:11:22 -0800
From: Bruce Mast

Found a single Ring-necked Duck among the scaups in the bird feeding area at Lake Merritt in Oakland yesterday morning. This is the first one I've seen at the lake this winter. The flock was right next to the sidewalk.

Bruce Mast
Oakland, CA

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Lake Merritt, Oakland
Wed, 12 Dec 2001 20:14:04 -0800
From: Wen Hsu

I went to Lake Merritt in Oakland today on the Audubon walk led by Anna Wilcox & Jean-Marie Spoelman. Thanks to lots of scopes brought by experienced birders, we had a good view of many interesting birds.

The Cattle Egret was on the pepper tree by the duck pond.
The lone Ring-necked Duck was still among the Lesser Scaups.
A Moorhen was among the American Coots.
Four kinds of grebes showed up in the lake: Western, Pied-billed, Eared, and Horned Grebes.
One Barrow's Goldeneye was spotted.
A hybrid Gadwall X Green-winged Teal was found.
A young Red-shouldered Hawk sat in a tree on one of the islands.

The final count (from 9:30 AM to around noon) was 43 species (including land birds).

Wen Hsu

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