Despite the winter-like, overcast conditions this morning, a walk along the trails yielded some great sightings. The silence in the woods was disheartening at first as all one could hear was the gusting wind and rushing water in Dunham’s Brook. There’s a lot to do – including writing my first blog post – should I go back? The decision was made as I heard loud drumming and the unmistakable call of the Pileated Woodpecker. “Kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk-kuk”, from the direction of the Upper Trail. Here I was greeted by not one, but a pair of these boldly patterned, large woodpeckers.[lightbox link=”http://norcrosswildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Osprey-Pickerel-800width.jpg” thumb=”http://norcrosswildlife.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/Osprey-Pickerel-800width-300×248.jpg” width=”300″ align=”right” title=”Osprey with Pickerel” frame=”true” icon=”image” caption=”Osprey with Pickerel”] After the woodpeckers moved on through the forest, I headed over to the Circle Garden. Again, just as I began having second thoughts about the less than ideal conditions I noticed small movements out of the corner of my eye, along the brook. Standing still and focusing, about a half-dozen small, warbler like birds were flitting along the stream. One was certainly a palm-warbler, who stopped to give a great look at his coconut-colored cap. A ruby-crowned kinglet was also in the mix. Moving a bit further along the trail, I again noticed a greenish-yellowish bird, and another, more grey, more yellow: A band of warblers! Pine, Palm & Yellow-rumped, well over a dozen of them, both males and females.
Heading back now via the Pond Trail another call stopped me in my tracks. A familiar call, but I could not recall what it was: A similar tempo to the Pileated I had just been listening to repeatedly, but certainly the wrong pitch. What was it? Suddenly there was motion about 20 yards ahead – an Osprey! This raptor was perched in a tree with a pickerel lodged in its talons, the fish still flapping its tail. Not wanting to disturb this feast I remained motionless watching the Osprey slowly tear into the fish.
Returning via the Vernal Pool Trail, stopping to check for wood frog and spotted salamander eggs of which there were plenty, I was reminded of how much happens so quickly this time of year. So, despite the weather, don’t hesitate to go outside and take a look. You may be pleasantly surprised.