The largest woodpecker in North America makes an appearance.
There’s little evidence now of the yellow pond lilies (spatterdock) that once covered the beaver pond. There’s a subtle golden glow on the still-green trees.
Osage Orange trees are covered with nubby green fruit the size of grapefruit. It looks tempting, but it’s not edible to people.
Purple asters are putting on an early autumn show.
At the far end of the beaver pond, I catch a glimpse of a Great Blue Heron fishing for dinner in the shallow water. I crouch in the bushes with my camera, hoping to capture an exciting moment. It takes awhile, and my knees begin to ache, but finally the heron nabs a small fish. That moment alone made today’s trip to the park worthwhile. But, another exciting moment was in store: a surprise encounter with a Pileated Woodpecker.
The Pileated Woodpecker is our largest woodpecker and quite an impressive bird with a black body suit, a red beret and a call best described as maniacal. I discovered this particular bird when I heard something crashing through the trees. I traced the sound to a large tree where pieces of bark were falling to the ground from above. Looking up, I saw the woodpecker chiseling bark from the tree with its powerful bill. Luckily, the bird allowed me to watch for several minutes before it decided to try its luck with a different tree.
Yet another surprise awaited me—and a flock of turkeys–as I was driving out of the park. The turkeys, grazing along the roadside as I approached, melted into the forest but not before I caught a few photos of their departure.
Next time, perhaps, I’ll get a better view of these interesting birds.