Monday, November 16, 2009

Sitting still

Usually when I go to the garden I am walking with dogs, children and/or friends- chatting, playing and policing. This weekend it was just me and the dog. I forced myself to be different. I lingered and tried to focus on finding birds in the canopy.

I have just finished a class to be a Master Naturalist, and because neither they, or I are, still this is one aspect of the natural world I know little about. Every time I walk in the garden with a group I point out even rows of holes on Tulip Poplars and other trees. With great flourish I say can you say "Yellow Bellied Sapsucker!" and the kids do with great zeal. However, I have a quiet moment of worry - because I have never seen a real live Yellow Bellied Sapsucker - it's such a great name but perhaps they don't exist, perhaps the holes are made by someone or something else, perhaps for 7 years I've been giving the wrong information to elementary students???

I did learn recently that Sapsuckers over winter here - so they were actually in the back of my mind as I strolled looking up in the canopy by the Hunt Cabin. There! I saw small woodpecker-shaped bodies flitting from tree to tree. I stood still and looked closer trying to concentrate on features- size, color etc. There were 5 or six birds up there but I didn't have binoculars and once I focused on them - they flitted away or went behind the tree. I think I can say I have now seen at least two real live Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers hanging out with some red headed woodpeckers.
The next challenge is to find out the difference between downy and red-headed woodpeckers, and then between Red-shoulders and Red-Tailed Hawks and then .....

I love life-long learning ...

Oh and I did actually sit still later - which is what I intended to talk about. Down the creek in the Beech Grove I sat under a huge beach tree and gazed on the beauty all around me. Now I heard woodpeckers, but couldn't see them. But was was fabulous was the color of the leaves - the carpet on the ground of golden fallen leaves and darker beech nuts. You should try it sometime.

1 comment:

lkw said...

How exciting to see a group of yellow-bellied sapsuckers in the Garden!

I only saw my first ones earlier this fall near the Museum, and then saw some over the weekend, too (and took a blurry photo of one hanging on a branch).

Perhaps they're particularly abundant this year?