Tuesday, May 10, 2022

HUNTLEY MEADOWS - WEDNESDAY - 4-25-22 - WOODS AND MARSH

Trees are felled by beaver, and we have a lot of North American Beavers in this area, as I have mentioned many times before…

but trees are felled by natural causes.  

They just snap... 
and that is all.
Having had a lot of rain lately, the woods smell fresh and earthy.
I love being in the woods but leaves of three, let it be.  That's Poison Ivy climbing up the trunk.
It doesn’t take long for everything to look green does it, especially with the amount of rain we have been having lately?
Fortunately, it didn't rain on this day, but we saw its benefits in our surroundings.  Liquid sunshine had done its magic.
Plants and wildflowers were blooming.
This is Longstyle sweetroot (botanical name Osmorhiza longistylis), also called Anise root, Wild anise, Licorice root and Smooth sweet cicely, a native of North America.  The crushed plant has a distinct scent of Anise.
In the photo below you will see the five-petaled flower of the Virginia springbeauty (botanical name Claytonia virginica), also known as Fairy spud, Good morning spring and Narrowleaf springbeauty.  I see it everywhere right now.  Those other yellow clusters are the flowers of the Sweet Gum, (botanical name Liquidambar styraciflua).  It also goes by Hazel pine, Redgum, Star-leaved gum, American storax and Alligatorwood.  This tree can age up to 400 years.  You can read more information at the links provided.
Doggies are being taken for their walks...
Okay for this area of the park, but for obvious reasons (not disturbing the wildlife with their curiosity), they are not allowed on the board walk going across the marsh.  They do seem happy on the trail through the woods.
These doggies are allowed to get a bit wild.  Flowering Dogwoods that is!
We are at the start of the marshy area, where we head for the boardwalk.  

The beaver dam has been fortified.

Fallen logs are great for ducks to rest for a while.  

The one on the left was being chatty but its companions were trying to sleep.
He gave up in the end.
Next, I am putting the cart before the horse so to speak, sharing a sighting that we came across on our way back.  

A small crowd was staring up into the trees, some had binoculars.  There was a photographer with a big zoom lens (600 mm) patiently waiting off to the side.  They were very friendly and chatty when I asked them what were they all looking at, with lots of finger pointing into the tree tops.  

The photographer volunteered that there was a Pileated Woodpecker nest in one of those tall trees, and he had been watching the parents go back and forth to the nest.  First one and then the other, each taking turns foraging food for their chicks.  (They chip out a large cavity in the tree to build their nest.)  

I had seen a large bird take off and wasn't sure what it was.  When the photographer asked me what it looked like, he told me what I had seen was a Pileated Woodpecker.   He said he had been waiting and watching as one came out of the nest cavity, leaving the other with their young.  

After he had taken his photos, he left soon after with a big grin.  I am sure he was very happy with his photos.  I was very grateful for the kindness he showed by sharing his knowledge.  I wish I had thought to ask him if he had a website.  

One of the parents is in the photo below.
It's up there (tree on the left).  I will have more to share of the Pileated Woodpecker tomorrow.  I only wish I had that 600 mm lens but hey-ho, it's a memory.  I am grateful with what I have.

The strangest thing is that I have only ever had three experiences with this bird, in the 46 years that I have lived here.  To be fair there were many years when my priorities were elsewhere, the most important being the care of our son.  Suddenly my nest was empty, and I didn't discover how very much I loved birding until after he had left home.  

One sighting was on a walk at the Manassas Battlefield Park several years ago.  I didn't take a camera everywhere with me back then, and I didn't have one with a zoom.  

Two days after our visit where we encountered these beauties at Huntley Meadows Park, I was astounded to see one land on our deck, clinging to the pole above the bird cam.  I just about fell out of my shoes in surprise.  They are the biggest woodpecker in America, this one at least a foot long we thought.  We didn't have time to take a photo from inside, and he wasn't in view of the bird cam.  He was gone in seconds but at least we saw him.  And again, hey-ho, sometimes in life you just have to be content with the memory.  

And on that note, I will finish my post.  More photos of our feathered friend tomorrow.  Thanks for looking and have a great day!



44 comments:

  1. We have seen the Pileateds quite a few times. They are large and impressive. I see yours, there is no missing it! They look like the Ivory Billed Woodpeckers, which were hunted totally out of existence.

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    1. That is wonderful Ginny, they are such an impressive bird. I mentioned the Ivory Billed Woodpecker in my post that’s set for tomorrow. Such a shame we can no longer see it.

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  2. I love to take a walk in the woods. So fresh and relaxed...

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    1. Hi Angie, one of nature’s many gifts to us :)

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  3. How beautiful.
    Your 'Sweet Gum' we know as Liquid Amber - and I have three healthy specimens in our garden. Those fruits are vicious to tread on though.

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    1. How lovely Sue and thank you for sharing that. I have seen the fruit and no, I certainly wouldn’t want to tread on those :)

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  4. É sempre bom e agradável estarmos em contacto com a natureza.
    Gostei.
    Um abraço e boa semana.

    Andarilhar
    Dedais de Francisco e Idalisa
    O prazer dos livros

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    1. Concordo plenamente e muito obrigado! Um abraço e continuação de boa semana :)

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  5. Oh I'm loving all that green. It looks absolutely beautiful there. I've never seen a pileated woodpecker except for in pictures. How fun to spot a nest.

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    1. Thanks Ann, it was a lovely day both for green and for birdlife :)

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  6. Hello,
    Beautiful walk, I love that all the trees have turned green now. The flowers are lovely.
    The ducks look happy and cute. Great sighting of the Pileated Woodpecker. Take care, enjoy your day!

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    1. Thank you Eileen, and I wish you the same :)

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  7. What beauty of the great outdoors! I've traveled across South Texas to see the woodpecker to no avail. I look forward to your next post!!!

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    1. Hi Anni, I hope you get to see your woodpecker. I was amazed one appeared only a few feet away on our deck! I am wondering if that will ever happen again but I live in hope :) I get to see the Downy and Red-bellied ones all the time, so I am very happy with those.

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  8. So much to see and learn from this post, Denise.
    I enjoyed this walk with you in the woods and I absolutely loved the photos.

    Happy Tuesday!

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    1. Thank you Veronica Lee, so glad you enjoyed. Happy Tuesday to you also :)

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  9. It is such a wonderful time of the year with renewal everywhere, and a forest is the perfect place to witness it all.

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  10. I have seen a woodpecker a few times - but I couldn't tell you which kind of woodpecker. I love seeing birds but I don't have to know what it is. They are all beautiful in their feathered glory.

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    1. Hi Carol, I'm glad you enjoy seeing the birds, they truly are glorious :)

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  11. Lovely captures of your bush and it's nice to walk along with you and see what you see..

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    1. Thanks Margaret :) I am happy you enjoyed coming along with me :)

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  12. they are pretty common here, and a few years ago I saw 3 of them on one tree out at emerson point. I don't get excited over birds, but I do get excited over dogs and furry stuff. it is always fun to run into people who share their knowledge and are freindly.. glad you had your adventure.. hope one comes to you cam sometime

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    1. Hi Sandra, I know you are a dog person :) They are wonderful too and love to see them. Yes, I am very thankful for kind people, and also for my blogging friends who have given me tons of ID's over the years.

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  13. the only photo I could find https://snapperone.blogspot.com/2010/06/emerson-point-preserve.html

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    1. Thanks for this great link, I thoroughly enjoyed looking at this 2010 post of yours. Great place with a great friend and excellent surroundings, AND those wonderful Pileated Woodpeckers. Such a treat!

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  14. Enjoyed your post. Trees just live their natural life span then, just like us.

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    1. Happy you enjoyed Christine, thank you :) and yes, trees are just like us.

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  15. Lovely to see all that green!

    Cute pups. 😊

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  16. Lovely green all over and love that chatty duck.

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    1. So happy you enjoyed Haddock, thank you :) I found your comment had gone straight to my spam folder. I have heard other blogging friends say the same thing. I try to remember to check every time now.

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  17. Great place. There is everything interesting to see.

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    1. Thank you Anne, I agree and always changing with the season :)

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  18. That dogwood is especially beautiful! I don't think I've ever seen a pileated woodpecker. What a fun adventure and a fabulous walking path.

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    1. I thought so too Jeanie, thank you! Every time we go there it is an adventure :)

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  19. I've been within five feet of that kind of woodpecker. I kept one company while he was coming to his senses after flying into a window at my parents place.

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    1. That's amazing, glad the poor thing came to its senses though :)

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  20. The photo of the chatty duck with his sleeping friends is adorable, Denise! Nature certainly mirrors human life. I love it that you were able to see a pair of pileated woodpeckers nesting. We used to have a pair that did a mating dance around our old oak. It was the funniest thing. They always thrill us when we see them. They are quite elusive. When we went out for our walk one day last week there was one on the wisteria in our front. As soon as he sensed us, off he flew.

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    1. I would have enjoyed seeing those woodpeckers of yours Martha Ellen. They sounded very entertaining. And a lovely sight on your wisteria, no doubt. Glad you enjoyed my chatty duck also. Perhaps I was empathizing with his companions. I am not a morning person ;)

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  21. What a great place to go! I'd love to see the huge woodpecker. Maybe, if I'm lucky. (I don't know if their range includes Tulsa). Such a great variety of wildlife you see.
    It's greening up here very well but that includes poison ivy, I am not sensitive to it but I understand that can change so I avoid it

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    1. Hi Yogi, it is very much so :) That poison ivy does a number on us so I think you are wise to be wary.

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  22. I'm catching up with your Huntley Meadows posts. It must be a good place to walk and see evidence of the beaver activity and different species of birds. Thank you for the information about the wildlife and plants that you see there. Wishing you a happy weekend.

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    1. Hi Linda :) You are very welcome and happy you enjoyed these trips. We had a lovely weekend thank you. I hope yours was also.

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