Friday, April 8, 2011

Sapsuckers Back Tappin' on Signs

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Holden Park

I have been seeing sapsucker arrivals on the birding listserves and with another 60-degree day in the forecast, I headed out to check out the two places in Pepin County where I spotted them last year.  I didn't hear or see them over on Kings Highway in Maxville, so I drove across the flooded Lower Chippewa River (current stage:  12 ft) to Silver Birch Lake. 

Lots of birds on the ice and water at the Lake:  Bald Eagles harassing mergansers, Ring-necked Ducks, Ring-billed Gulls and Common Goldeneyes.  I caught a glimpse of a Common Loon as it dove, then minutes later, heard it yodel.   No sapsuckers in the oaks on the west side of the park.  But the Columbines have leafed out.

My Prius strained back up the hill to the prairies - but it continues to get great mileage (70 miles per gallon for the slow spin around the neighborhood).

I headed down the hill at Holden Park to see if the Eastern Phoebe was back and working on a new nest on the eve of the park outhouse.  It was.  Then I heard a odd metallic tapping echoed through the woods.

I had trouble locating the origin.  Turns out it was right in front of me:  A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker drumming on the RV dumping station sign by the outhouse.   Bad lighting, but I took a picture anyway.  Then both he and the phoebe took off.

I headed over to Alma to take a look at the flooding along the Buffalo and Mississippi (current stage:  13 ft) Rivers.  The Swan Observation deck and campgrounds at Rieck's Lake Park are under water!

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