Sapsucker Weather

This entry is part 42 of 133 in the series 2011 Photojournal

Walking across the yard this afternoon, I noticed a Red-breasted Sapsucker working at the trunk of a Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla). I was reminded that this sort of weather (perhaps especially at this time of year) makes for good opportunities to look for sapsuckers. They winter here in limited numbers, though I more often see them at mid-elevations than at sea level. However, when temperatures drop into the 20s and teens they will show up at sea level, especially near shores with sizable trees and good southern exposure. At such times they will really work at the base of the trees, I imagine because it’s the first place the sap will run – perhaps even when air temperatures are quite cold if the trunk is sufficiently warmed by the sun. When I saw it, this particular sapsucker was checking out wells that had evidently been made over the past few days. After it flew off, I checked them out, and they appeared to be pretty dry.

Winds were down today, though there was still a little bit of breeze. Temperatures warmed slightly, and are forecast to warm further over the rest of the week (though the wind is supposed to pick up later tomorrow). Some clouds were evident to the south and west as I walked home from UAS – the sunset was quite colorful, perhaps because of those clouds. On the way to UAS I noticed a somewhat strange looking cloud that appeared to be over Indian River Valley (though it’s difficult for me to say exactly). It was very smooth and I’m thinking that was probably due to wind sculpting. It was also quite isolated, so I’m curious as to what may have led to its development.

Read more