Winter Break

Although the temperatures for the day were still below normal for this time of year, January 13 did bring with it a slight break in the cold we’ve been experiencing lately. I was able to shed one layer of clothes for the day.

Further proof of a definite warm-up was evidenced by a Groundhog seen browsing in the grass next to the Ornithopter in Catch the Wind. This mid-January date is nearly two weeks before Groundhog Day! Unfortunately, I don’t have an image of the early riser to show you (I took a picture, but accidently deleted it from my camera).

Painted Turtle taking advantage of the relative warmth of the mid January sunshine..
Eastern Painted Turtle taking advantage of the relative warmth of the mid January sunshine.

The same day, a Painted Turtle apparently thought it warm enough to crawl out onto a log to bask in the sun!

As if the appearance of the groundhog and turtle were not evidence enough of the warm-up, sap was pouring out of a maple tree in Catch the Wind. The holes, drilled by a woodpecker, were also attracting insects, and other birds to the sweet tasting sap.

Sap flows from Yellow-bellied Sapsucker "wells" drilled into a maple in Catch the Wind.
Sap flows from Yellow-bellied Sapsucker “wells” (arrows) drilled into a maple in Catch the Wind.

Today, it’s supposed to be even warmer, so I’m signing off and heading outside!

Enjoy the day.

4 responses to Winter Break

  1. Avatar
    barney says:

    The wood above the [sic] would start
    to decay and bugs may jump in there. That may be a nice treat for a woodpecker. The sapsucker put a crack in the dam. Nature takes any break it can.

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger
      Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      The small holes made by the sapsucker usually heal with little or no effect on the tree.
      However, as you suggest, many other birds as well as the sapsucker who made the drillings, visit the holes and lap up the insects that are attracted to the sap. So, the sapsucker, by pecking the small holes in the tree not only reaps the rewards itself but also opens up a whole new food source for a variety of other creatures, both insect and avian.

  2. Avatar
    barney kohout says:

    The lower holes in the maple tree look like Sapsucker holes
    but could the upper holes be from another bird maybe even looking for bugs as well as sap ?
    Did you see this happen live .

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger
      Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Thanks for commenting.
      I’ve seen the sapsucker on the tree but did not see it excavate those particular holes. What is it about the upper holes (other than their non-linear orientation) that makes you feel that it is from another bird?

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