Red Breasted Sap Sucker

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The Red Breasted Sap Sucker is a rare spot for birders in downtown San Jose, California. Signs of the Sap Sucker’s presence are rows of holes bored into tree trunks and branches. They partake of the trees sap by carving tiny reservoirs in the tree. The tree, in an attempt to heal its wound, releases sap which is easily accessible to many types of wildlife: hummingbirds, songbirds, squirrels, and insects all reap the benefit of the Sap Sucker’s hard work.

After 4 years of seeing signs of the Sap Sucker, February 15th, 2012, I spotted one just north of Coleman Avenue along the Guadalupe River. As I examined its’ territory I noticed big scarring on one of the main trunks utilized by the Sap Sucker. Late last year, brush and trees were cleared and the Sap Suckers territory grew smaller. Sap Suckers prefer old growth forests. With few remaining old growth trees and continuing urban development in the Santa Clara Valley, one doesn’t have to speculate as to why the Sap Sucker is infrequently spotted. Your best chances of spotting one, in the valley are the various preserves in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Guadalupe Oak Grove Park. Keep your head up for the rows of holes in Eucalyptus, Oak, Cottonwood, Willow, and Sycamores trees.


About tpsgreg

My name is Greg Kerekes and I am a Naturalist. I have a fascination with the natural world and I want to share what I discover to remind people what they are a part of. I consider photography a necessary means for capturing the magnificent beauty I experience in the neighboring wild. With my photography, I hope to preserve events as a way of validating their existence in order to focus attention toward the taken for granted connection between all objects in the universe. My photography promotes exploration, personal discovery, and acquisition of knowledge through the passing of time, experience, and persistence but most of all the connection between us known as the circle of life. I began to realize the connection with my environment at a young age. I grew up along the American River in Sacramento, California. My spare time as an adolescent was spent biking, hiking; studying the plants and animals; and catching butterflies along the river parkway. My experience wasn’t restricted to the American River; every Summer my family would take a road trip to a National Park somewhere in the United States: Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Everglades and many others. I picked up a camera in 2005 after realizing that catching butterflies was destructive. I can study the butterflies through pictures without causing them any harm. With this realization, my world expanded and I was now able to study anything I wanted in this manner. I began to photograph plants, insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and the habitats they live in. After High School I attended Sacramento City College where I learned the digital and darkroom process and began making digital and silver gelatin prints. After the completion of my Certificate in Photography at Sacramento City College I moved to San Jose and began attending San Jose State University. At this institution I began to explore the antique processes of photography like Cyanotype and Gum Dichromate which use exposures from the sun rather than a light from an enlarger in the darkroom to create the image. Currently, I spend my time documenting the wild, natural life in San Jose working to coexist with the urban environment. I continue to travel extensively every year to further the tradition of natural exploration instilled by my parents. My objective is to set an example, raise awareness, and make a difference for the betterment of our society and planet, all while photographing what drives me the most, the connection between us and our environment.
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