Waxwings and a sapsucker

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A large flock Cedar Waxwings was in the trees across the street again yesterday. They were eating berries on the strangler fig and perching in cozy little crowds in the live oak.

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There have been lots of these pretty birds in Sewall’s Point this March.

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This woodpecker was with the waxwings.

At first I thought it was a big Downy Woodpecker (since I  just learned in my Audubon class that there are no Hairy Woodpeckers around here). Then when I looked at the photo on my laptop I briefly thought it was a rare Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

But Cornell Lab of Ornithology notes that the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker has a white wing patch that the Red-cockaded does not have.

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This is my first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker!.. the bird that everyone uses to make fun of birders and bird names.

On a walk through the forest you might spot rows of shallow holes in tree bark. In the East, this is the work of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, an enterprising woodpecker that laps up the leaking sap and any trapped insects with its specialized, brush-tipped tongue.

They are migratory and will be heading north soon.

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