Thursday, April 9, 2015

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus varius) are a handsome woodpecker migrating, right now, through the forest at Fox Island County Park.  Sapsuckers typically peck small holes in  a line around the tree trunk.  The woodpecker then feeds on the tree sap as well as the insects attracted to the dripping sap.
Has this male Sapsucker visited this same tree during a previous migration?
These sap dripping holes also attract Mourning Cloak and Comma Butterflies that have overwintered in the park as adults. Because nectar bearing flowers are few and far between at this time of the year these early butterflies sip sap for their energy and nutrition needs.  Just before I photographed this Sapsucker a Mourning Cloak flew from the trail just ahead of me.
Photo by J. Ormiston, Fox Island County Park, 04-09-2015