Pileated woodpecker

It has been a while since I last wrote in this nature diary. Life has got in the way! Meanwhile the nights are getting even shorter and it’s dark for both breakfast and the evening meal. Rain is cleaning off the streets quite effectively and some days the wind blows the dog’s ears straight backwards.

The big leaf maples stand out golden. Some are freshly gold and others have already lost most of their leaves. Sometimes the two are only a few yards apart and I wonder why the difference. Meanwhile the small oak street trees are a deep mahogany red and spectacular against a blue sky.

Clusters of flickers gather in the woodland, their confab splitting as the dog heads towards them. It used to be that these birds were seldom seen but now I can spot six together. They give a half-hearted alarm call and scatter to nearby trees. I’m tempted to hide behind a tree trunk to see if they re-gather as soon as I’m no longer in sight.

Yesterday I spotted a pileated woodpecker on top of a power pole. I’d never have noticed him if he hadn’t been giving the alarm – again half-heartedly. It is quite noticeable the difference between the “Danger! Everybody run. Take cover. Hide. Right now!” alarm call and the “Watch out, I don’t think she’s much of a threat but you’d better keep your eyes on her.” kind of alarm call. You would describe both calls as a sharp, piercing single note, but the difference is in the quality.

The woodpecker remained on the top of the power pole for quite a long time, looking mostly across the road to where the new houses are being built. There used to be more than one pileated woodpecker’s nest on that site. Now there aren’t even any trees. I wonder what goes through their minds as they survey land that used to be woodland and is now barren of all but mud.


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