The elusive Woody Woodpecker

I made it back to the park for a photowalk this morning and happily the sun was shining. A short while into my walk, I heard a pileated woodpecker (Woody Woodpecker) hammering away at a nearby tree. Unfortunately, I had the 35mm lens on my camera, so I quickly set everything down, dug in my bag for the 70-300mm lens, and made a fast lens change. Meanwhile, he flew off. Of course, he did! You knew he would and so did I!

Found him again, not too far away, and headed in his direction. Almost reached him, and he flew again. This time he landed lower in a tree right near the path, so I hurried in that direction, but.... You guessed it. He flew again. A much greater distance! I tracked him down, could hear him, but not see him, hidden as he was somewhere on the inner branches of a massive tree. I circled the huge, mostly dead tree (woodpecker heaven), first in one direction, then in the other until I found him. Unfortunately, there were too many branches blocking my view of the busy bird!

Also, unfortunately, I was, by now, chilled to the bone! So I finally gave up and was ready to head back to my car when I ran into a friend who had just seen a Woody on another trail. I headed over there, found the right spot, but, yep, you guessed it. No Woody!

Some days are like that I guess. The bad news is that I didn't get the picture I was hoping to blip. The good news is we got pretty good confirmation that we have a pair of pileated woodpeckers in the park. I was watching one at the same time my friend spotted another. And even more good news? This is the first bluejay blip I've captured in quite a while. He posed so nicely for me in the sumac tree. The chickadees, titmice, and other little birds were overjoyed to see me (and my pocket full of bird seed). They buzzed around my head, landed on my camera, and one assertive chickadee sat on my hand and pecked at my thumbnail over and over again. "Welcome back," they seemed to say. "We've missed you." At least that's what I imagined the attention was all about. Probably it was more about the birdseed in my pocket.

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