Knock Knock
A Red-Bellied Woodpecker Has a Surprise
May 27, 2006

  Sometimes in an action sequence, the clarity of the photo isn't as significant as the story it tells. Or that's what I'd like to believe.

During a walk this morning, I saw a male red-bellied woodpecker examining a large hole in a dead tree.

Red-bellied woodpecker examining a hole
  The woodpecker checked out every angle. (And note that lovely pattern on his tail in the photo below.)
Further red-bellied examination
However, the hole was already occupied, and the woodpecker leaped backward. A small face is staring out of the hole.
The surprise
  It was a tiny flying squirrel, probably a southern flying squirrel because it is more gray than brown. Note the skin flap of the wing which extends from the front arm; it appears slightly darker.
A peeking flying squirrel
Getting over his surprise, the red-bellied woodpecker landed back on the tree, worked his way around to the flying squirrel den, stuck his head in again, and leaped backward. He had a third try as well.

Each time the flying squirrel would poke his head out the den and then retreat back inside. Flying squirrels are noctural, and all he wanted was a good day's sleep.

Photo note: The photos were taken with the Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens.

Red-bellied woodpecker

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