Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

 Persistence pays off! When an opportunity arose to try for the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker occurred on Monday, I jumped at the chance. Being with a great birder made me feel more optimistic about finding it. We made our drive to Trepassy arriving just after noon. In just minutes from our stopping point we found the bird.

 The sun was shinning and the brilliant crimson head and throat on this bird really over shadowed the yellow belly that it is named for. Although, its yellow belly was an obvious pale yellow. It stayed in the top of a tree the whole time we were there, at least 40 to 50 feet up at all times. I was shooting straight up.
We had hopes that it would drop down lower on the tree so that we could have a better look at it. With the help of a scope we did see it well enough to see it stick its tongue out. It was in constant motion while in the tree top, flitting from one branch to another.
Trying to get an clear shot of this bird was like trying to thread a needle with your eyes closed. There was a mass of branches blocking the view of the bird in almost every limb it climbed.
Aside from taking a brief rest here, the YB Sapsucker was steadily drilling holes and eating. Oddly enough, we could see it tapping but didn't hear any tapping noise. We heard its call at least twice and it was very distinct.

Judging by the extreme number of sap holes all around the trunk both high and low on all of the trees in this yard, this is not the first sapsucker to have visited. The Discussion Group has posted sightings of one or two on almost an annual basis. It seems that they have been sighted in Branch, Trepassy, Portugal Cove South and
area. Apparently, there was an apple
tree found last year that had many holes drilled. Is it possible that there are more Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers around waiting to be found?

While this is no great shot, it is the only one that I have of this bird in flight. I thought it might be useful to show the underside in case any one goes sapsucker hunting.
It is also likely that this will be the view that you will see most often as the sapsucker may well be high in a tree and looking to go higher.

This was a pretty amazing sighting for me because it was a first and this was such a stunning male in its Spring finest. 

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