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

Tulip Magnolias in Bloom

It’s not yet spring, but Tulip Magnolias started blooming throughout the greater Charleston, SC area at the end of January.

Tulip Magnolia Blossom
Tulip Magnolia Blossom

We had a few days in the high 70s (around 25 C) last week and the blossoms popped out like crazy.

Tulip Magnolia Blossom
Tulip Magnolia Blossom

The daytime temperatures have since dropped back to more seasonable mid 60s (15C). I’d like to think we’re past having an overnight freeze, which would turn these beauties into black disappointment. However, two years ago we had a hard frost at the end of March so I won’t hold my breath.

Top of Tulip Magnolia Tree
Top of Tulip Magnolia Tree

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

One Stick at a Time

This Great Blue Heron was intent on gathering sticks for his nest and paid no attention to the humans on the nature trail.

Great Blue Heron Flying By
Great Blue Heron Flying By

He went back and forth from the nest to a nearby spot that had a huge variety of nest building materials to choose from.

Great Blue Heron Gathering Sticks
Great Blue Heron Gathering Sticks

Sometimes the heron’s selection was so small it hardly seemed worth the trip.

Great Blue Heron Flying By
Great Blue Heron Flying By

Drama in the Spoonie Tree

In my last post, Snowy Egret, Blue Water, I mentioned that the Snowy Egrets can be feisty. This action took place in the “Spoonie Tree,” so named because the Roseate Spoonbills tend to gather there as a second Snowy Egret came in for a landing.

Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets
Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets

Even though their perches were several feet apart, the incoming Snowy Egret was considered an interloper.

Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets
Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets

He who was there first drove the second egret off.

Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets
Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets

After the action was over the Roseate Spoonbill had a quick squawk, but otherwise didn’t move.

Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets
Spoonbill and Snowy Egrets