Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yes Virginia, there really is a bird called a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker! I was just getting ready to go out and do a last minute grocery shopping run this morning when I saw a bird eating from the suet feeder. It was eating in an odd position, holding the tree and turning its head to peck at the suet (most birds hold onto the wire feeder!). When I noticed it had red under its chin, I realized it was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius). I grabbed my camera and started snapping away. I figured the grocery shopping could wait a bit longer!

A few minutes later, a female Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus) (lower right) landed on the tree branch waiting her turn to grab a bite to eat.

After the sapsucker had his fill to eat, he hopped around to the side of the tree. It gave me a nice opportunity to get some good shots, even a short movie!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Acrobatic squirrels and backyard visitors

Well, it has been a couple of weeks since I've posted to my blog. Thanks to "fun" jobs like cleaning the refrigerator and power washing the driveway and the patio, I haven't been hiking the past few weekends or taking many pictures lately. Besides, the purple pillbug was a pretty hard act to follow! :)

I have been enjoying watching the critters at my feeders and in the back yard. Lately, I've seen a cute little chipmunk grabbing fallen sunflower seeds below the feeders. I managed to snap a shot of this little guy just before he (or she?) scurried off. A groundhog munched leaves in the backyard in order to add on some more fat to get it through its winter sleep. Another related rodent, the gray squirrel, kept me laughing as it went through some pretty acrobatic maneuvers to raid the feeder. It is amazing that they can hang by their "toenails" like that!

Here is a movie of the same squirrel (sorry about sound of the garbage truck in the background!):

There have been lots of birds visiting our yard too. Yesterday I saw a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker woodpecker, Golden-shafted Flickers, Cedar Waxwings, Robins, Cardinals (right), Titmice, Chickadees, Goldfinches, Nuthatches, Carolina Wrens, Bluebirds and Red-bellied Woodpeckers (left). It is not hard to see why these birds are called "Red-bellied" when you see this picture. Isn't he handsome!?

This birdfeeder is just ~15 feet from the piture window in our living room. It is fun to watch the activity as the birds (and sometimes squirrels) come and go.

Male Golden-shafted Flickers look like they have a fumanshu (sp?) mustache! I saw this guy hunting in the grass outside my dining room window. As I was taking photos he decided to take off! The golden color on the wing feathers is not visible until they fly.

I hope all of my readers have a very happy Thanksgiving!