Popsicle, Sapsicle

Long Tailed Tit, hovering under frozen icicle of maple sap.In a northern Japanese forest in early spring as the days begin to lengthen some trees begin to pump sap. But the air temperature is still many degrees below freezing, cold enough for icicles to form.

Where maple branches have broken in a storm, icicles of sweet sap take shape; creating a tempting delicacy for small birds.

Long Tailed Tit, hovering under frozen icicle of maple sap.
As these still frames from an NHNZ Images film show a long tailed tit hovering under the sapsicle.

Each icicle may last only a few days.

The rising temperatures mean that even as a Japanese white eye licks at it, the frozen delicacy is already melting.



Japanese White Eye licking frozen sap from icicle The white eye has a curious piece of philatelic history associated with it. The Japanese white eye, Zosterops japonica, featured on a definitive stamp. The very closely related New Zealand silvereye Zosterops lateralis lateralis also featured on a NZ definitive stamp, at about the same time. I think I'm right in saying that it's the only time members of the same genus have featured on ordinary (definitive) stamps of the countries in which they are found. Doubtless commemorative issues abound with members of the same genus - I would think eagles have been featured many times.

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