Category Archives: Birds

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker All In

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are named for their behavior of drilling small  holes in trees then drinking the sap that runs into the wells. They get most of their food that way but also feed on insects they find under tree bark.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I’ve seen them peck at bark, mostly on the rough-barked trees and was surprised to see this one bobbing into a tree cavity. He was just about disappearing from my view as he reached in.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I didn’t see what, if anything, the Sapsucker was finding, but he kept at it for longer than I watched.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Camoflage

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers visually blend into the surface of the rough-barked trees. These two images were taken in different places over a month apart.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

I heard the tat-tat-tat of pecking at the bark first, then watched for the flash of red to help me spot them. Sapsuckers tend to spiral around the tree looking for food, sometimes at a pretty fast pace leaving the photographer to guess where they will pop back around.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Red-bellied Woodpecker Still Trying

The Red-bellied Woodpecker didn’t give up with his Magnolia Seed Berry.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

There must be a spot in this thick barked tree to lodge this berry!

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Even when he found a spot he wasn’t satisfied, and this time he may have lost it for good.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

The ground was covered with these Magnolia berries so he could easily try with another.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

This is the third and final post in this series.

See the first post here: Red-bellied Woodpecker With Magnolia Seed Berry

See the second post here: Red-bellied Woodpecker Keeps Trying

Red-bellied Woodpecker Keeps Trying

The Red-bellied Woodpecker from Wednesday’s Magnolia Seed Berry post kept looking for a place to lodge his find in a dead tree branch above me.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

He picked a pretty lichen covered perch but could not find a useful spot to put that berry.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

A couple of times I thought he had lost it in a hollow place in the branch, but he eventually got it back.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

After a few more unsuccessful tries he scanned for another spot.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker With Magnolia Seed Berry

What a find, now what do I do?

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Looking almost like a cranberry, the berries that contain the Magnolia Tree seeds are pretty hard and this Red-bellied Woodpecker was trying to figure out how to get it open.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Several ideas he had for lodging it in the bark of this tree so he could peck at it did not pan out.

Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Belted Kingfisher on Water Gate

Water levels in the large pond at Magnolia Cemetery are controlled with this screw mechanism connected to a gate that allows water to drain off into the marsh. I’ve often seen Belted Kingfishers that work the pond for food use it as a perch.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

The Belted Kingfisher’s loud rattling call often helps you locate one, and I had watched one make several zippy trips across the pond without even getting to lift my camera. I took these from the car as we were leaving.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

I got a little closer before another car came and captured this head on view showing off the Kingfisher’s top knot.

Belted Kingfisher
Belted Kingfisher

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

I last photographed a Yellow-billed Cuckoo about two years ago. I spotted one last week and recognized him in flight immediately due to his long, thin body.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

They prefer woodland and the trees he found most appealing were shiny with highlighted leaves behind him.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

He eventually moved to the other side of the path so the sun was shining on him, but didn’t quite get his head out into the light.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

He watched patiently presumably for food, often looking up above him, but I didn’t see him even try to catch anything. After a couple minutes in this spot he moved higher and deeper into the tree line.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

 

Hovering Belted Kingfisher

With amazing flying skill the Belted Kingfisher can hover continuously while eyeing the water below for a fish. I watched this one through two cycles of hover and dive; he didn’t enter the water either time.

Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering
Belted Kingfisher Hovering