Sitting under the sycamore tree in my backyard, I heard a faint tapping and looked up to see a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker exploring the trunk of the tree. As usually happens at these times, I didn't have my camera on me, but I watched the bird as it went round and round and up and up the tree. Then, suddenly, another bird joined the first one and there were two sapsuckers checking out my tree.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are winter visitors to our area, but it's not every winter that I have one in my yard, much less two, and even when I do see them, it is normally well into December. I've never recorded one in my yard this early before. I'm not sure what the early arrival of sapsuckers portends, if anything. Will other winter birds be early this year? Time will tell.
Although I didn't have my camera to get a picture of the birds, after they flew away, I went to examine the tree and there I found evidence that they had likely been here for a few days at least.
UPDATE: Tree owners sometimes worry unnecessarily about these holes in their trees. I should probably have made the point in my original post that the tiny holes do not really pose a hazard for the trees. They heal over very quickly unless the bird returns to them to keep them open and the sap flowing. Once the birds leave, only the scars of the old holes are left. This relationship has been going on for millenia and the birds and the trees have thrived.