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Friday, May 2, 2008

A Very Pleasant Afternoon

We couldn't have asked for a nicer May 1st. So sunny and warm yesterday. Afternoon Temperature: 14C

This small interior lake has opened up considerably. We've had some cool temperatures recently and also another dusting of snow, but the warmer days and a strong sun have really melted the ice. I saw my first Common Loon of the year in a narrow stretch of water between the shore and the existing ice layer. However, just as I focused my camera, the wary Loon dove underwater, and all I have for a picture is a few bubbles. Later, I enjoyed hearing his haunting call.

The sap is risingAnd this poor Poplar tree
is weeping from all its wounds.
Several more poplars in the same vicinity
were similarly affected.

So many nicks and gashes

As I walked I caught a tiny movement at the side of the road in the ditch area where there were some shallow pools from the snow melt. A nice sun-sparkled spot. The sparrow became aware of me and hid behind a bush staying very still at first. Minutes later, instead of flying away the sparrow darted away into the grass. This is one of the characteristics of this species - they are "able runners".

Savannah Sparrow
Passerculus sandwichensis

(yellow eyebrow, pale yellow crown stripe)

I'm fairly certain that this is a Red-breasted Sapsucker. If it is - Wow! Summer breeding range extends a little into B.C.'s interior, but this bird is more common along the coast. From my National Geographic Society Field Guide to The Birds of North America: "These woodpeckers drill evenly spaced rows of holes in trees, then visit these wells for sap and the insects it attracts." Our beautiful *Rufous Hummingbird is closely connected to this Sapsucker, as one of the hummingbird's food sources is sap, and they will nest near the holes that the Sapsucker has made. (please click on picture to enlarge)

Red-breasted Sapsucker
Sphyrapicus ruber

(red head, nape and breast, white stripe across bill)

*The hummingbird feeders will be hung up today as they'll be here any time now.