When I was a boy, among the ugliest names to be saddled with was yellow-bellied sapsucker. It was an insult, hurled to hurt, meaning sissy, or chicken butt.
Last week Mary saw some woodpecker-type birds at camp, but couldn't identify them. The same weekend, a few miles away, my friend Tony Kay saw some birds drilling holes in the wild cherry trees of his yard, and posted a picture, seeking their identity.
It took some investigating, and a few days, but eventually we established that these were immature yellow-bellied sapsuckers - not uncommon around here.
I've seen two or three of these hanging around camp for the last week. I suspect they are siblings from this summer's hatch and will soon become separated as they migrate to bask for the winter in the sun of the southeastern United States, and even further into Central America.
These little guys are ambitious and absolutely charming to share a space with. Does anybody know how such delightful characters became associated with childhood taunts?
Here's a yellow-bellied sapsucker photobombing my mid afternoon attempt today to capture the moon rising above our bay at camp. Cheeky little bastard!