Friday, December 19, 2014

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Visit

I haven't been able to bird lately, with school and work consuming most of my time. But I was extremely pleased when I noticed something scaling up our pine tree in the backyard. A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker wad circling the trunk, delicately drilling her sap wells! I actually have never seen a sapsucker... suck sap, so this was a first. After she left I went out and investigated the wells she had drilled. They weren't in neat rows like pictures I had seen, but instead in a row spiraling up the trunk. Many were pretty fresh, with the sap flowing pretty constantly.

This isn't the same exact individual (this is a male), but I never get tired of these winter woodpeckers!
She makes Woodpecker Species #3 for my backyard- I have a Downy who comes almost daily and once a Red-bellied Woodpecker landed in my neighbor's yard. (I count those too!) I think she showed up once last year, for I did see a pretty ratty sapsucker once, and she's not the prettiest sapsucker I've seen. But she's pretty, I think- her belly is mottled with charcoal-like smudges and a wash of yellow. She has a red cap that reminds me of a Hairy Woodpecker juvenile and her back is a mosaic of black, white, buff, and some yellow.

I hope to get some pictures of her soon, and hopefully she comes back next winter! I really enjoy watching her drill wells in the bark. If I'm lucky I'll get a Rufous Hummingbird checking out the wells!

In other news, I finally got some pictures of a Pine Siskin! I've seen them before but that was while waiting for the bus at the bus stop. This time is was at Cane Creek Park, where they were foraging in gumball trees with American Goldfinches.

They remind me of European Goldfinches in that their wings have hidden flashes of yellow. The American Goldfinches also sometimes sound like their European counterparts so sometimes I have to double-check to make sure!

I also snagged a great picture of a Cooper's Hawk at Santee NWR! It was taken a while ago, and I forgot to make a post about it, but I really like it!

He was perched on a Speed Limit sign- we drove right next to him!
Hopefully you're having better birding trips than I. I'm hoping over Winter Break I can convince my parents to go check out a Western Tanager! That would be a life, state, county (although I have barely birded in McDowell County), year, season... you get the idea. I'm not crazy about listing (I mainly care about Union County, my home county, year list, and life list) and I'm waayyy too lazy to keep up with all that.

If I don't make a post before Christmas, happy holidays! I know I'll make a post on/after my birthday, though! Here's to hoping to go to Pee Dee NWR!

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