Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Sunday, December 24, 2017,

This is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, my first one ever. It is probably an immature male and not just because most women I know are always telling me that men are immature. Or maybe they just mean me. I’m not sure. Anyways, back to the bird. I spotted a pair of these working some trees about a month ago at the Morton Wildlife Refuge. They were obviously woodpeckers of some sort but even from a distance I could see they weren’t Downy Woodpeckers, which are the woodpeckers I see most often. When I got home, I grabbed my Sibley’s Guide and compared my pics to the illustrations in Mr. Sibley’s excellent book. I thought I might have a Sapsucker but I very rarely trust myself, especially when it comes to new (to me) birds. So I emailed my friend Patrice from the Four Harbors Audubon Society and she confirmed my guess. I had finally captured the mythical Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. I looked to the skies for falling confetti or blaring trumpets but, sigh, there was nothing of the sort. I did, however, have a new bird under my belt. JK

A Bird In Hand

Tuesday, March 20, 2012,

This is the magic of the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge in Sag Harbor. This is a pic that requires no words. But I’m gonna bore you anyways.

The refuge has a lot to offer. Two very-well maintained trails take you through several unique habitats including a mixed hardwood forest, freshwater wetlands, saltwater marshes, upland fields, and even a beach that straddles both Little Peconic and Noyack Bays. These varied habitats attract a wide variety of species. One stands a very good chance of seeing some seldom glimpsed critters like deer, pheasants, and turkeys in their natural element. In all seasons, Morton is a birder’s hotspot. Migrating waterfowl, warblers, and numerous other birds either visit the refuge or stay here all year round.

All very cool stuff, mind you, especially to a guy like me. But Morton’s real draw, her very real magic, is the trust that the local birds show in us bipeds. Come bearing sunflower seeds and extend your open palm with this simple gift, and birds small enough to fit in your closed fist – don’t do that, by the way – will alight on your hand, select a seed, and fly off to enjoy its prize. I’ve been visiting Morton for more years than I had hair and having a bird land on my hand never gets old. Ever. JK  

Northern Flicker, Front And Back

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Northern Flicker, male.

This is one good-looking bird. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Any one of his features would be enough to make him handsome, from that red chevron on the back of his gray head to that beautiful polka-dot breast, or those bright yellow feathers on the underside of his tail. Put them all together and you’ve got a bird that makes you say wow. JK

Northern Flicker.