I am sure you are probably wondering why it looks like my children are so intent on kissing this tree at the park... A few other park goers seemed to be wondering the same thing! Well... it all started like this...
We were walking through the park and Matthew wandered over to a tree and put his hand against the trunk to lean on it. "Mom, this tree is all wet!" We looked closer and found all these little rows of holes with fresh sap running out. I told him that it was a maple tree and he asked if the sap was what they made maple syrup out of. I assured him that it was the same, so he asked if he could taste it. I told him he could, one thing led to another and by the time I turned around all three boys where there tasting the sap that was flowing down the trunk of the tree! We talked about how maples are tapped for syrup production up north in New England and in Canada. The said the sap tasted like maple syrup but more watery and less concentrated.
See the little rows of holes in the tree's trunk? The row on top is the freshest, it isn't wet with sap yet, the lower rows are dark and wet with sap running down. Below is a picture of the bird that made all of those holes. A few minutes after we discovered the maple tree with it's rows of holes we spied this bird busily tapping holes in another maple nearby. It's a male Yellow Bellied Sapsucker. I couldn't get a better picture of him because he kept circling to the back side of the trees when I tried to get in a good spot to see him clearly.
After watching the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker for a while the little ones ran over to the playground to swing and play.
Ethan Played with Claire for a while on the teeter-totter. She loved it!
Meanwhile, Logan wandered around nearby searching under the trees for owl pellets and other interesting things.
He didn't find any owl pellets, but he did spot this. A beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk. He was picking at this nest, we watched him for a while trying to decide whether it was an old squirrel's nest he was tearing at, or if he was busy prepping a nest of his own for the coming breeding season. Last summer we watched a pair of these hawks feeding their young in a nest built directly beside the playground! We never did decide which of the two it was.
Back on the playground Matthew was busy taking Claire down the slides.
She liked it so much that after he was done she kept trying and trying to figure out how to climb back up there on her own.