Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Pileated Woodpecker and Winter Newts

With today's bright sunshine, and rain predicted for the next several days, I grabbed the chance for a walk in the woods this afternoon. Naugatuck State Forest was lovely as usual, and mostly quiet except for several squirrels and small birds busily foraging for food (Red-breasted Nuthatches are so noisy!). And except for this fancy fellow, who was pretty hard to miss, with all the loud calling and tree-hammering he was doing:

Pileated Woodpeckers are definitely awesome, and it's been several months since I last saw one in these woods. I was surprised, actually, that this woodpecker let me come as close as it did, since in the past these birds have always flown away almost as soon as I see them. And speaking of flying away, check out the brilliant white armpits on this creature:

Out of curiosity, I peered into the water in one of the lakes, and I was surprised to see Red-spotted Newts swimming around, as cold as it is. As it turns out, these guys stay active all year, so if you need an amphibian fix in the middle of winter, I guess shallow water is the place to look!

Finally, almost all of the cut trees lining the paths (remnants of the October storms) now bear tiny frozen drips of sap -- perhaps as a result of the warm temperatures we've had over the past couple of days:

I can't help admiring these little sap sculptures, even if they had to come from dying trees:

Oops, I didn't mean to end the post on a sad note! The woods are awesome, and those trees aren't really crying, right?

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