[Tweeters] Green Lake: a hawk, a rat, an opossum

Patti Loesche loes at uw.edu
Tue Dec 27 19:16:51 PST 2016

At Seattle’s Green Lake this afternoon, someone told me they had seen an opossum in the crotch of a willow on the opposite side of the lake. I had nearly completed my route around 3:30 when I saw a half dozen people staring into a willow. I expected to see the opossum but instead saw a large, immature, unbanded Cooper’s hawk on a low branch gorging on the brains of an enormous rat. Farther out on a limb in the same tree was the opossum, watching the hawk.

The close views were terrific, but it was difficult to see both hawk and opossum at once. People arriving from one direction first noticed the opossum, and those arriving from the other direction first noticed the hawk. Then we amazed each other by exchanging news of our respective sightings on opposite sides of the tree.

While the Coop was feeding, the opossum took a few cautious steps inward towards the trunk (and the hawk), then it stopped and appeared to nod off. The Coop, though aware of the nearby gathering of people, was intent on feeding. Eventually the headless rat fell into the water below. Crop stuffed, the Coop hopped to a higher branch, wiped its bill, and flew off.

The willow with all the action today is on the south side of the lake, just east of where West Green Lake Way meets Aurora Ave.

Patti Loesche

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