It was a beautiful clear, cold winter morning – a good morning to walk along the river. The ice had gone out weeks ago so seeing some waterfowl was a possibility. But the only waterfowl to be seen were some common goldeneyes far from shore, much too far for good photos and in the shadow of a large passing cloud –
But a bit further on a loud “thunk, thunk” from a riverside tree caught my attention. There on the trunk of a silver maple was a male pileated woodpecker. He moved rapidly up, down and around the tree chipping here and there at the bark as he searched for the galleries of carpenter ants or the larva of wood-boring beetles. His movements were rapid enough that it was difficult to get a still photo of the bird – so here’s a short video of him hunting for a meal –
As I moved for a view unobscured by tree trunks another pileated that was out of sight sounded the bird’s raucous territorial/alarm call and off he went, flying upstream and out of sight.
Two years ago I’d seen a male pileated woodpecker along this same stretch of river; he’d also allowed a close approach and was also remarkably unwary for a pileated (posted here). Pileated woodpeckers are fairly long-lived birds, so it’s entirely possible this was the same bird.
Most of a mile further on, in the same tree where I’d photographed them before (posted here) was a peregrine falcon. All the peregrines I’ve ever seen seemed to ignore mere humans, whether just passing by or stopping to watch them. This bird was no different as I stopped to take a few photos –
Another hundred yards along the way and there the second of the peregrine pair was perched in a riverside tree. Unfortunately, a few small branches hampered the view of the bird and there was no place from which to see the bird that was without interfering branches –
After three miles it was time to head for town to join friends for a cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin.