Archive for August 26th, 2009


When I was walking out to the barn, I heard a woodpecker tap-tap-tapping and spotted this fellow at work. I don’t have the quality of photographic equipment needed for great bird shots, but was pleased to get a picture of this individual. It’s a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius). Birdgirl identified it as a young bird, hatched this year. It can be identified as such by its mottled brown head. This is its juvenile plumage. It will moult in the late fall or early winter and acquire its adult plumage, which features red patches on the crown and forehead.


Sapsuckers drill parallel rows of small holes in the bark of trees. Insects are attracted to the holes as they fill with sap. The sapsucker makes rounds of the trees it has tapped and laps up both the sap and the insects trapped in the sap.

Just after seeing the sapsucker, I spotted the bird shown below in the Viburnum bush. It appeared to be checking out the fruit on the bush.


Fall warblers can be difficult to identify and I asked Birdgirl for her help with this one too. It is a Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas), a young of the year, just hatched this summer. It’s not surprising that there should be young yellowthroats in the area. There were a number of yellowthroats singing in the spring. They are more often heard than seen, as they tend to stay hidden in the foliage of bushes. The male’s song is easily identified, a crisp “Witch-it-y! Witch-it-y! Witch-it-y!” If you do catch sight of a male, its black mask is distinctive. Below is a yellowthroat I saw outside the kitchen window this spring.


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